Looking back at Takaaki Nakagami's career after first GP win

The Assen GP 2016 is one to remember after all three classes saw a new winner. Takaaki Nakagami was one of them in the Moto 2 class, during his 111th Grand Prix, and discusses how he felt relaxed after knowing his lap times were consistent.

Looking back at Takaaki Nakagami's career after first GP win
Takaaki Nakagami took his first ever GP win since joining the world championship in 2012 | Photo: crash.net

It was an extraordinary weekend at the Dutch GP with each race seeing a new winner taking to the podium. In Moto 3 it was Francesco Bagnaia (ASPAR Mahindra Team Moto3), who also took Mahindra’s first win, and in Moto GP it was Jack Miller (Estrella Galicia 0,0 Marc VDS) taking the first independent team win since Toni Elias in 2006.

Takaaki Nakagami (IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia) continued the run of new winners as he took the top spot in Moto 2, just ahead of Johann Zarco (Ajo Motorsport), taking his first ever win since joining the world championship back in 2007.

Nakagami stormed away out the front

With the race starting off dry, fans saw a spectacular display from the riders as they fought to get to the front. With Nakagami starting sixth on the grid, spectators saw him work his way up to join the front group. After battling with the likes of Franco Morbidelli (Estrella Galicia 0,0  Marc VDS), Thomas Luthi (Garage Plus Intewetten) and Sam Lowes (Federal Oil Gresini Moto2) he eventually made off at the front, leaving the rest of the riders behind.

His gap soon reached to over two seconds, and it was inevitable that he would take the win as it seemed impossible that anyone would catch up. However, with just three laps to go rain was spotted falling onto the track and the rain flags were waved in each sector. This gave Zarco the opportunity to start closing the gap and it suddenly closed right down to 1.7 seconds. As the rain began to fall harder, the red flag was waved with only two laps to go, and this automatically made Nakagami the race winner.

The 24-year-old couldn't contain his excitement after taking his first win

When speaking after it was clear that Nakagami was relieved, but also admitted he felt relaxed saying: "I knew that my lap times were consistent, and then I overtook Morbidelli and tried my best."  He also said that the "race was really enjoyable" especially "in the beginning when I (he) was fighting with the other guys." He ended on "It’s the first victory for me and the team, a big thank you to everyone."

After joining the world championship in 2012, he has continuously improved

During Nakagami’s career we saw him start in the 125cc class working his way up into Moto 2 in 2012. He has shown to be something special after putting in consistent times, and claiming a second place on the grid, and then fifth in the race, in only his second time competing on a Moto 2 bike at the Gran Premio bwin De Espana.

In his second year at Moto 2 he took his first podium at the Commercial Bank Grand Prix of Qatar, the first race that season, sitting third on the podium. From then on you would often see him in the top ten before taking four back-to-back second places starting at the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix and finishing at the GP Aperol Di San Marino E Della Riviera Di Rimini.

His fantastic pace didn’t end there as in 2015 he took another podium at the San Marino GP, taking his second third place in the Moto 2 class. We have continued to watch him grow after reaching the beginning of this season, making him a rider to watch. His times have been in sync with the rest of the field, and there has already been another podium as he took second place last round at the Circuit De Catalunya.

Nakagami started in the 125cc class in 2012 - Photo: www.zimbio.com
Nakagami started the world championship in the 125cc class in 2012 | Photo: www.zimbio.com

The Moto 2 championship is still wide open

Nakagami is now placed fifth in the championship with 78 points, still putting him in the title chase as he sits 48 points behind the leader Zarco, who has 126.