Starting from a first MotoGP pole position and fast all weekend, the biggest remaining obstacle between Takaaki Nakagami and at least a debut premier-class podium looked to be a good getaway.

The Japanese promptly ticked that off the list by firmly closing the door on nearest rival Franco Morbidelli on the charge to Turn 1 at Aragon, remaining out of trouble through the notorious Turn 2 right-hander, which claimed Brad Binder and Jack Miller.

But disaster struck just a few corners later when the LCR Honda rider ran a little wide on the exit of Turn 4 and lost the front as he hit the brakes for Turn 5, sending him down and out.

Nakagami - confirmed as a Honda MotoGP rider for the next two seasons on the eve of the event - was mortified by the mistake, sitting with his head in his hands long after returning to the pits.

"Now I feel a little bit better!" said Nakagami, several hours after the incident. " It was such a shame that one mistake cost us massively.

"Even now I can't believe how I did the mistake, so I'm disappointed in myself."

Nakagami admitted that the immense pressure that comes with being on pole position and leading in MotoGP for the first time had proven too much to handle.

"It was such an amazing feeling to be on pole position, but on the other hand it was incredible pressure," he said. "Before the start my heart rate was close to 200 maybe!

"Is the first time I felt this is incredible pressure from the outside, the first time [on pole position] and first time leading the race - only maybe for 10 seconds! - and I couldn't manage. This is the reason why I had a stupid mistake."

The technical explanation for his fall was a combination of factors, starting with a defensive line on entry to Turn 4.

Carrying too much speed for the tighter line, Nakagami was sent a little wide on the exit, then - also not taking a full fuel-tank into enough consideration – he braked too aggressively for Turn 5.

"I knew that Franco was behind and that's why I had to close the door from Turn 1, 2, 3 and also 4 to save the position. At Turn 4 I was slightly inside, then in braking for Turn 5 I was a little bit outside [the line]," he explained.

"It was an easy mistake and then I couldn't control [the situation] very well. My braking was too sharp. Suddenly I locked the front and crashed.

"It was so stupid mistake. I don't know why at that moment I did like this and I can only say I was too fast and I couldn’t control the speed, also the braking pressure. I was out of control, so that's it.

"All the practice I never had this feeling. But in the race I was maybe too nervous or I couldn't control my feeling. I was too sharp on the first part of the braking.

"At the beginning of the race with a full fuel tank the bike is more pitching and I couldn't think about that. I was only trying to do a good start and try to be strong in all corners and try to break away as soon as possible.

"That was the only thing on my mind, to try the maximum performance after the start and I was too fast."

While shouldering the blame himself, LCR and Honda offered positive words to try console the #30.

"When I came back to our garage, first of all I said to Giacomo [Guidotti, crew chief] that I apologise for my stupid mistake and he said: 'Don't worry Taka, you did an amazing job. Okay it was a small mistake but all weekend you were near the top'. He was very positive.

"Also I spoke with Lucio and Takeo [Yokoyama, HRC], they said the same as Giacomo, they are not talking about my mistake. They are very proud of our performance all weekend. So this is a nice feeling.

"But on the otherhand, for me I couldn’t believe in myself this mistake, but now I need to keep my head up and try to think about Valencia."

Nakagami's first race mistake of the year ended his 100% points record as well as any realistic hope of fighting for the championship, having slipped 45 points from the top.

"If I learn from this mistake then I believe our future is bright. On the other hand, if I again have the same mistake it will be a disaster!" said Nakagami, the only Honda rider using a 2019-spec bike.

"We need to understand this experience and the most important thing for the future is how you manage this pressure.

"Today I cannot control unfortunately, but for the future if I can control I think we are able to win many races.

"I'm very disappointed in myself, but I'm really looking forward to the next races.

"There are only three races to go this season, but I don't care about the championship, if I can win a race I'm not interested in who won the championship.

"That's it. I want to enjoy myself!"

Repsol Honda's Alex Marquez also crashed out, while in fourth place, leaving Nakagami's team-mate Cal Crutchlow as the top Honda rider in eleventh place.



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