Takaaki Nakagami

Country: 
Full Name: 
Takaaki Nakagami
Birth Date: 
6 February, 1992
Birth Place: 
Chiba, Japan
Driver Status: 
Current
173
Races
2
Wins
5
Poles
0
Titles

Takaaki Nakagami Biography
 

Cutting his racing teeth in the Japanese Road Race GP125 championship, Nakagami shot into the headlines in 2006 by winning ever race of the season and becoming the youngest-ever champion in the series.

Moving into MotoGP's Red Bull-backed youth setup, Nakagami made the switch to Europe in 2007 in the CEV 125GP championship along with a world championship debut with a wildcard at the 2007 125cc Valencia finale.

After a productive season in CEV, finishing sixth overall, Nakagami made the step up to world level in 2008 with I.C. Team and spent the year learning the ropes with unfamiliar machinery, teams and tracks. A switch to Ongetta Team I.S.P.A. for 2009 allowed Nakagami to build on his rookie season as he became a regular points finisher highlighted by a pair of fifith places at Le Mans and Donington Park.

Looking to progress his career further, Nakagami made the decision to return to Japan, turning down 125cc team offers for 2010, as he moved into the Japanese ST600 championship with HARC-PRO Honda. Nakagami also became a Suzuka 8 Hours winner on his first attempt as he claimed victory for Honda alongside Ryuichi Kiyonari and Takumi Takahashi. Following a productive season he stayed with the team to move up to the J-GP2 class on a Honda HP6 and duly won five out of the six races that season.

With his stock on the rise, he secured a move into Moto2 with Italtrans Racing for 2012 and compared to his 125cc days Nakagami found the intermediate class easier to adapt to with eight finishes inside the points from 17 races.

Sticking with Italtrans for 2013, Nakagami made his rookie Moto2 experience pay with a podium at the 2013 opener in Qatar. The year would turn into his best Moto2 campaign highlighted by three pole positions (Le Mans, Brno and Silverstone) along with a quartet of second place podiums between Indianapolis and Misano and he finished the year in eighth place in the standings.

A switch to Idemitsu Honda Team Asia in 2014 initially looked like Nakagami's best way to trigger a Moto2 title attack for 2014, a feeling cemented when he finished as runner-up in the Qatar opener, but following a technical disqualification Nakagami struggled to find a comfortable set up with his bike and could only manage finishes in the lower points places for the majority of the season.

Sticking with the team for 2015 but hitting the reset button. It paid off as he gradually climbed the Moto2 pecking order once again, with a return to the podium in Misano, as he ended the season eighth place overall.

Despite falling back after a strong season in 2013, Nakagami avoided the same mistakes as he became a title contender in 2016. A maiden Moto2 win at Assen along with three other podium finishes kept him inside the front-running pack before fading to sixth place in the final standings.

It was similar story in 2017 with another win (this time at Silverstone) plus three more podium finishes as he finished the campaign in seventh place overall. But the season ended on a high for Nakagami as he secured a MotoGP promotion with LCR Honda for 2018.

With a highly-experienced team-mate in Cal Crutchlow to learn from, Nakagami made solid progress in his rookie MotoGP campaign but without sparkling in terms of results, as his best finish of the season came at the wet and wild 2018 Valencia finale with the Japanese rider taking sixth place. Nakagami also made a return to the Suzuka 8 Hours as he finished runner-up with Takumi Takahashi and PJ Jacobsen.

But once again, Nakagami benefitted from his rookie experiences but making clear progress in his second season in MotoGP. Nakagami became a consistent top 10 contender with the tricky handling Honda RC213V and converted that into nine top 10 finishes from 16 starts. Nakagami missed the final three rounds and post-season tests with a shoulder injury which required surgery so he could be fully fit for the start of the 2020 season with LCR Honda.