Takaaki Nakagami

Personal Information

Full Name
Takaaki Nakagami
Place of Birth
Chiba, Japan
CountryJapan Japan

About Takaaki Nakagami

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

Career Stats


Latest News

Full Biography

Cutting his racing teeth in the Japanese Road Race GP125 championship, Takaaki Nakagami made headlines in 2006 by winning every 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.

The Covid delayed start to 2020 gave Nakagami extra time to heal, and he found himself receiving unexpected extra HRC attention after the factory star rider Marc Marquez was injured at round one. Consistently battling for the top six on his year-old machine, Nakagami finished the season as the leading Honda rider, in tenth.

However, crucial mistakes - most notably falling from the lead on lap one at Aragon after qualifying on pole position - keep a debut podium out of his reach.

It would be a similar story in 2021 when, now upgraded to the latest Honda machinery for the first time, ill-timed errors saw podium (and possibly victory) chances slip away and he finished just 15th in the world championship, albeit just ahead of new team-mate Alex Marquez.

Nakagami enlisted the help of a mental coach to try and deal with the pressure better in 2022, but his biggest obstacle proved to be technical, with the initial promise of the heavily-revised RC213V dramatically disappearing after the opening round.

The Japanese had taken a best finish of seventh when he fell entering turn 1 at Catalunya, bringing down Francesco Bagnaia and Alex Rins and sending Nakagami to hospital.

But a second opening lap accident at Aragon, after a tangle with Marc Marquez, battling to control a damaged bike, had even bigger consequences for the #30 with tendon injuries to his finger blighting the rest of his season.

Bravely back on track a week later for his home Motegi round, Nakagami then skipped Buriram, Phillip Island and Sepang before a return at the Valencia finale.

The good late-season news for Nakagami was that, having faced pressure for his LCR seat from countryman Ai Ogura, battling for the Moto2 crown, Taka got the nod to stay for 2023.

Latest Photos