Nakagami apologises to Bagnaia, Rins: ‘I appreciate being alive’

Returning to the paddock for the first time since triggering a nasty turn one accident at the Catalunya MotoGP, Takaaki Nakagami sought out Francesco Bagnaia and Alex Rins for a face-to-face apology.
Alex Rins and Takaaki Nakagami after crashing out, Catalunya MotoGP. 5 July
Alex Rins and Takaaki Nakagami after crashing out, Catalunya MotoGP. 5 July

Nakagami explained that he had been caught out by the slipstream behind Bagnaia, causing him to lose control under braking.

After falling, Nakagami’s helmet struck the Italian’s rear wheel with such force that it knocked the Ducati rider down, while Rins was taken out by Nakagami’s sliding Honda.

The FIM Stewards declared it a ‘racing incident’ - something a number of riders disagreed with - but Nakagami, who spent the night in hospital but has been passed fit to ride at the Sachsenring tomorrow, felt it was important to apologise for ‘destroying their races’ and leaving Rins with a broken wrist.

“I’m still not 100% recovered, but it’s just been confirmed that I’m fit to ride this weekend and this is a miracle after that accident,” Nakagami said.

“This morning I apologised to Pecco and Alex, because after the race I had no chance to meet them because I was in hospital. For me it's really important to apologise face to face.

“I explained that it was a totally my mistake and I apologised because I destroyed their races.”

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Recalling what had happened going into turn one, Nakagami, who had made a strong start from twelfth, said: “I didn't make any mistake on the braking point. The braking point was totally under control, but unfortunately I had quite a big slipstream behind Pecco that I didn't expect and then at the end I couldn't stop well.

“I couldn't avoid the crash. At the last moment I tried to stop the bike, but it was impossible. I locked the front, then I hit Pecco and Alex.

“So it was a nasty crash, of course, and at the end this is my mistake. So I explained everything, that it was my mistake, they accepted the apology and we shook hands. So that's it.”

Nakagami added that he would have accepted a penalty from the Stewards, who declined to punish the #30 on the grounds that he had braked 'at a similar time to the riders around him'.

“If I would get the penalty, I couldn't say anything because it was my mistake,” he said.

“At the end the race stewards decided it was a race accident… Unfortunately I destroyed two riders’ races. If they changed their mind and I would get a penalty, of course I would have accepted it.”

“The accident was from my mistake and I was not alone [on track] so I hit Pecco and Alex, and he got the injury. I'm really, really sorry for him.”

Takaaki Nakagami after crash, Catalunya MotoGP. 5 July
Takaaki Nakagami after crash, Catalunya MotoGP. 5 July

Takaaki Nakagami: ‘I really appreciate being alive’

Fortunately for Nakagami, his Arai helmet soaked up much of the brutal impact with Bagnaia’s rear wheel.

“This morning I saw my helmet. It's really, really bad. I really, really, appreciate [being] alive because they [Arai] saved my life. And also I totally remember everything. So yeah, it was super nasty, but the Arai helmet helped a lot.”

While he escaped any serious head injuries and fractures, Nakagami will be riding sore this weekend in Germany.

“The shoulder is still really bad, I have no injury, no fracture, but a lot of inflammation and some liquid inside the joint,” he said. “I don't know if the riding position is comfortable or not.

“But this track has only two hard braking points, turn 1 and after the downhill, all the rest it's quite easy from the physical side.”

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