Takaaki Nakagami has confirmed his race crash at Assen, where he was taken out by Valentino Rossi, was the moment that ultimately led to him deciding to skip the final three MotoGP races of 2019.

Nakagami banged up his right shoulder in the fast crash at Stekkenwal. Despite feeling the after effects of that injury ever since, he declined to reveal the issue to his team up until last month's race at Aragon.

Pain in the right shoulder, especially when braking aboard his ’18 Honda RC213V, has been a repeated issue for the Japanese rider since then. Recent experiences at Aragon and the Chang International Circuit were enough to prove early intervention was needed on the joint.

This was, Nakagami said, the “negative news” of a week that saw LCR Honda announce his contract renewal for a third season together in 2020.

“On Tuesday afternoon we announced the positive news and the negative news. The positive news is that I have renewed the contract with LCR Honda. That’s really positive for me. I’m really happy to stay with LCR Honda and HRC.

“About the negative news it’s my injury since the Assen crash, during the race,” he expained. “I don’t want to talk about this because until the last moment I didn’t want to talk to anyone [about it]. Before Aragon I thought it was time to explain to the team, especially with Lucio, the team manager, and of course HRC.

“Since the Assen crash I’ve felt pain in my right shoulder. Let’s say that race by race I feel like I’ve lost performance. It’s a really hard decision for me. I will miss the last three races and of course I want to keep racing until Valencia.

“But now it’s quite impossible. Even the last few races I’ve struggled to finish the race. It depends on the track layout. Aragon was so, so bad. Thailand I struggled to hold onto the bike. I lost the power and everything.

“After this I decide it was time for surgery. Of course, I’m disappointed to miss Australia, Malaysia and Valencia. But this has happened and I’m trying to think about the positives for next season.”

When asked about the most difficult aspect of riding with this particular injury, the 27-year old pointed to manhandling the bike in braking areas.

Motegi, the scene of this weekend’s Japanese Grand Prix features many of those, meaning Nakagami will use painkillers throughout the upcoming weekend.

“Even without injuries the MotoGP bike is not so easy to ride. Now I have this quite big injury on my right shoulder. The biggest problem is I can’t hold on the bike in braking, especially long braking it’s getting worse and worse.

“I don’t want to say but it will be a tough weekend here. I’ll try to do my best and hopefully the pain won’t increase. I think from FP1 I will take some painkillers.”

 

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