News 15 Nov 2017

Honda rookies Morbidelli and Nakagami get to grips with MotoGP

Moto2 graduates complete opening day with their respective MotoGP outfits.

Source: Supplied.

Reigning Moto2 champion Franco Morbidelli and former intermediate class regular Takaaki Nakagami experienced their first taste of MotoGP on day one of the pre-season test at Valencia in Spain.

Morbidelli declared he was satisfied with his opening day on the Team Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS Honda RC213V, where wound up in 18th in the times, explaining he’s already made developments with the bike to suit his style ahead of Wednesday’s second day of the test.

“It was a good first day and I enjoyed it a lot on the bike,” said Morbidelli. “It was nice to finally test a MotoGP bike and it was good to start work with my new crew, the engineers from HRC and the technicians from Michelin.

“The biggest differences compared to the Moto2 bike is the power, which is amazing but with a very rider friendly delivery and the braking, which is much more physically demanding than in Moto2, mainly because you arrive at the corner so much faster. We are already starting to improve the bike for me and tomorrow we’ll continue with that. Both Valentino and Marc came by me today and I think they did a slower lap in front of me, maybe to show me the lines, and that was a very emotional moment for me.”

LCR Honda Idemitsu-mounted Nakagami stated times and positions are irrelevant at this stage, as he continues to adapt to the premier class bike. The Japanese ace, who finished 17th on the time-sheets, says he enjoyed every one of the 76 laps he put down on the Spanish circuit.

“Of course, it was absolutely amazing and a great feeling for me,” Nakagami commented. “This is a new challenge for me – a new team, new staff and everyone is very friendly and kind and have really helped me, because it’s the first time for me on this bike.

“There are many things to try and understand, but the team has already helped a lot and we were improving on each outing, so I think it was a good start for me. For the team and for me, the first priority is to try and understand the bike and the electronics.

“We don’t care about the positions or lap times because of course it was very difficult, but as I said before we made good progress and we improved a lot and the physical side was also ok. I still have some more physical work to do, but it’s an amazing feeling to ride this bike and I was very happy to go out on it each time – I enjoyed every lap.”

The pair will return to the circuit along with the remainder of the MotoGP for the second day of the opening pre-season test.