MotoGP: Nakagami joins Crutchlow at LCR Honda in 2018

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As first reported by MCN in May, Cal Crutchlow will be joined at LCR Honda for the 2018 MotoGP season by Japanese Moto2 racer Takaaki Nakagami, as the twelve-time Grand Prix podium finisher confirms his step up to the premier class.

Rumoured at since early in the season thanks in part to Honda and series organisers Dorna’s desire for a Japanese rider in the top class of the sport, he will join Lucio Cecchinello’s squad on a contract direct with the factory, similar to the new one that Crutchlow also signed already this season – music to the ears of the Italian.

“We are very happy to confirm Takaaki Nakagami as the newest member of our Team; a Team which will be expanded with crew members who boast vast experience. This project, alongside our current programme with Cal Crutchlow, marks the fulfilment of our sporting ambitions.

“I am truly delighted, and in the name of the whole LCR Honda Team, I think it is fair to say that we are all extremely motivated to work with a rookie like Taka, because ever since he made his debut as a youngster he has shown huge potential. From myself, the team, and from HRC Takaaki will have the best support possible to take on the next challenge in his career."

And, coming as the culmination of a twenty-year career for Nakagami, he says he cannot wait to see what he’s capable of on the RC213V.

“Since riding a pocket bike when I was four years old, I have always aimed to compete with the world’s best. This opportunity has become real thanks to all of my associates and fans. There are still seven Moto2 races left this season, including the Japanese Grand Prix. I’ll be concentrating on these races, while gaining the abilities I need for next year. I hope everyone will continue to support me the way they have up to now.”

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Simon Patterson

By Simon Patterson

MotoGP and road racing reporter, photographer, videographer