Honda's leading rider in the MotoGP standings, Takaaki Nakagami got his first taste 'and a good taste' of the latest 2020 machine during the Misano test.

With reigning champion Marc Marquez injured, the latest RC213V hasn’t finished higher than eighth place in the hands of Alex Marquez, Cal Crutchlow (also injured) and test rider Stefan Bradl.

Meanwhile, Nakagami has already managed a fourth place on his 2019-spec machine - but the Japanese insisted there were 'no negatives' with the 2020 bike, despite a fall.

"The new bike feels so good. Unfortunately, I had a crash with the new bike! Because we had planned to make a long run but after ten laps I had a big impact in turn one, the big bump, and lost the front end. It was an easy crash.

"Sorry to HRC but the bike was good. I felt comfortable and the lap time even on a long run was like a '32 low every lap. So it was really positive and I don't feel any negative."

Nakagami admitted it was nice to see a pack of HRC engineers crowd around to hear his feedback on the new bike.

"There were a lot, I think more than 10 people! Everyone wrote down my comments and it's nice to feel [this support]. But this is my job. They try to always develop the bike and how we can improve," he said.

"But the strategy [for the season] didn’t change, just they give me an opportunity to test the bike and give comments. It was quite simple. The good thing is I didn't feel any negative so as a first step I'm so happy and I think for the future Honda's bike works pretty well."

Unfortunately for Nakagami, the MotoGP rules do not allow a rider to switch engine spec during the racing season and so he will remain on the 2019 machine until the current championship is over.

"Because of the regulations, I cannot swap the bike," he confirmed. "Today was a first taste and a good taste. I really enjoyed. Let's see for the future and of course also for next year."

In the short term, Nakagami also has plenty to look forward to in terms of this weekend's second Misano round after also making clear progress with his 2019 machine, with which he clocked the second-fastest test time behind Maverick Vinales (Yamaha).

"Every sector was faster and during the day we changed many things, tested many items. We are working on the rear side like a different linkage and new shock. All items were really positive," he said.

"So I'm pretty happy for how we improved from last weekend. Because especially Friday and Saturday were really bad for us. We really struggled and we lost the way. But now we are now in a quite good way, I mean the lap time is really consistent and I really enjoyed this test day.

"But one thing we have to pay attention because everybody was faster and, we improved the lap time in every sector and we are very happy, but we need to pay attention further because during the test only MotoGP Michelin rubber and normally easy to make a lap time.

"So we have to keep a bit calm for the race weekend because especially on Sunday after the Moto2 race, with Dunlop rubber on the track, always a struggle. I mean less grip. So we need to understand how much we improved from the race weekend to today and still work for the weekend."

Like most of his fellow riders, Nakagami also gave the proposed helmet radio system a brief run.

"It works quite well I mean I can hear all the words clearly. Before I thought this is impossible when riding, but it was good. I can hear everything. So the first step is quite good.

"But it was not comfortable. I mean with the ear plug and with the helmet, when I took off the helmet the earplug was out. Not comfortable. Also the wind, the sound is not comfortable.

"Today the plan was just to check if I can hear. After the first 2-3 laps I could hear clearly with no problem so I gave it back to Dorna."

 

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