Honda’s difficult start to the 2021 MotoGP season was made a whole lot easier by Takaaki Nakagami’s impressive run at Jerez, where he was only six tenths away from a first premier class podium. 

The 29 year-old’s good form also rolled into the Monday after race day, as Nakagami was fourth fastest in the one-day test in Andalucia. 

This all comes after a race weekend in Portimao where Nakagami was battered and bruised to say the least due to suffering a crash that nearly ruled him out of the weekend. 

Jerez has been one of Nakagami’s best race tracks since joining the Grand Prix paddock, as his fourth place finish matched the result he’s achieved on two other occasions - both in 2020, at Jerez (race one), and Valencia. 

The race result was very much a what could have been for Nakagami, but at the same time a breakthrough on the Honda of sorts this year as he returned to the 2020 chassis.  

"The race pace was really fast but we were able to keep the rhythm and have a really good feeling on the bike from the beginning to the end," said Nakagami. 

"Really, really close to P3 which is a podium, six tenths I think. I have mixed feelings after the race; I was screaming. 50% I was very proud and happy and 50% not disappointed but… I don’t know how to explain how I feel. When I came to the box I cried. I’m happy how we came back and P4 is a good result for us."

The conditions were much more rider friendly this year as the Jerez race ran in it’s normal May slot unlike July, which was caused because of the Covid-19 pandemic. 

This was something Nakagami talked about as he admitted to the thought of 'giving up' at the end of last year’s race due to the conditions. 

"Physical condition was pretty good. Last year it was much worse because of different temperatures and at the end of the race I was thinking of giving up. But today was good, no problem and nothing from the injury from Portimao." 

Jerez was a weekend that brought out the emotions of a few as we saw with Jack Miller following the race win. 

And it was a similar situation for Nakagami who had endured a difficult start to the season like Miller before Sunday’s race. 

Nakagami 'cried' once returning to the pit box, saying: "I don’t know if the TV was following me but after the race I cried because I was a bit disappointed to miss the podium."

With regards to the test which was topped by Yamaha’s Maverick Vinales, Dorna provided an update as to what Nakagami tested and tried. 

"Nakagami tried aero, but then mainly focused on setup. He said he was more consistent and really comfortable, looking forward to Le Mans, and that the 2020 chassis is working well. 

"He also warned against seeing that change back (to the 2021 version) as something signifying the new chassis was negative."

 

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