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A great start to the Gran Premio Red Bull de Españan for Takaaki Nakagami as the Japanese rider dives under the lap record.
Recent years have seen riders frequently break the Jerez lap record, set by Stefan Bradl way back in 2011, during testing but come the Spanish Grand Prix none have been able to recreate their hot lap. This stood true until Takaaki Nakagami’s penultimate lap of FP1 as the Japanese rider ripped around the Circuito de Jerez and set an incredible 1’42.642. Finally Bradl’s record was broken as Nakagami went about topping the opening day of practice for the intermediate class. The Idemitsu Honda Team Asia ace has frequently been able to produce fast laps during practice, although never quite as fast as this one, but has struggled to put together a race capable of challenging for victory.
With his speed already clearly very high, the 2016 Spanish GP could very well see Nakagami advanced from occasional podium contender to Moto2 ™ winner. Only once in 2016 has Nakagami managed to finish inside the top ten, a jump start in Qatar ruining his race and misfortune striking in Austin as another rider brought him down while in the podium hunt. Back in 2013, Nakagami proved that when his confidence is high and the bike is working well, he can be a regular podium challenger. Since his run of four consecutive second place finishes in 2013 he has only once stepped on to the podium, when he was third in Misano in 2015.
Takaaki Nakagami: “Of course we are very happy about the first day. I’m a bit surprised because we broke the record which is of course a good thing. Another thing is that we are very competitive and our lap times are really consistent and of course FP2 we lost a little time but we didn’t put any new tyres. We’re looking forward to Qualifying tomorrow. Always every year in winter testing it’s like 41s and 42s breaking the record but it’s the first time during the race weekend I did a 42-middle. Conditions today were a little cooler at least in the morning session so everybody is quite fast."
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