Takaaki Nakagami has finally been confirmed as stepping up to MotoGP with LCR Honda next season, as team-mate to Cal Crutchlow.

LCR is currently the only one-rider team in MotoGP, but with the final 24th grid slot reserved for Lucio Cecchinello's outfit, which last ran a two-rider line-up with Crutchlow and Jack Miller in 2015.

Like Crutchlow, Nakagami - who has been in Moto2 since 2012, claiming 1 victory, 13 podiums and 4 poles - has been signed on a 'HRC contract' .

“Since riding a pocket bike when I was four years old, I have always aimed to compete with the world’s best,” Nakagami said. “This opportunity has become real thanks to all of my associates and fans.

“There are still seven Moto2 races left this season, including the Japanese Grand Prix. I’ll be concentrating on these races, while gaining the abilities I need for next year. I hope everyone will continue to support me the way they have up to now.”

Cecchinello said he is delighted to welcome Nakagami on board.

“We are very happy to confirm Takaaki Nakagami as the newest member of our Team; a Team which will be expanded with crew members who boast vast experience,” Cecchinhello said. “This project, alongside our current programme with Cal Crutchlow, marks the fulfilment of our sporting ambitions.

“I am truly delighted, and in the name of the whole LCR Honda Team, I think it is fair to say that we are all extremely motivated to work with a rookie like Taka, because ever since he made his debut as a youngster he has shown huge potential. From myself, the team, and from HRC, Takaaki will have the best support possible to take on the next challenge in his career."

Honda Racing Corporation President Yoshishige Nomura is pleased to see a full-time Japanese rider return to the MotoGP grid after a long absence. Nakagami becomes the first full-time Japanese rider in MotoGP since Hiroshi Aoyama rode for Aspar Honda in 2014.

“Nakagami continues his journey into 2018 as an HRC contract rider, and using his passion and riding skills to their fullest, will undoubtedly become a rider that the younger generation from Japan, and the Asia region, will aspire to be like,” Nomura said. “I believe his dreams will drive him to become a top-class rider who will impress many fans.”


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