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After a successful start to the 2020 season, Tetsuta Nagashima returned to his native Japan whilst the Moto2™ campaign takes an unplanned hiatus. The Red Bull KTM Ajo rider spoke this week about his maiden Grand Prix victory in Qatar, his adaptation to the team and how he is spending his time during the postponement of the racing action.
What did it mean for you to achieve your first win in the Moto2 World Championship?
"It was a very important victory for me, since it was a big step on the road to achieving my dream: making it into MotoGP. It was very exciting and very emotional to get to the top of the podium, and I am very happy about it."
Which MotoGP™ Legend called Nagashima after he won the Qatar GP?
What went through your mind when you crossed the finish line?
"In that moment, all I could do was scream. Before crossing the finish line, I was unable to think of anything; my mind was blank. However, when it was over, I was filled with immense happiness. I had never felt what I felt then. I was so elated that I just kept screaming inside my helmet."
It was a dream debut with Red Bull KTM Ajo. How is your adaptation going and how is your relationship with the team developing?
"The team are incredible; they work hard and they are very professional. Many riders have ridden for Red Bull KTM Ajo, several of whom became champions, so being here is a big step for me. I feel very comfortable with all the members of the team.
After qualifying for the Qatar Grand Prix I wasn’t exactly stressed, but I was a bit confused because I had pushed hard and made small mistakes during the session. It was the team's advice that helped me to keep calm and win the race."
Nagashima's touching tribute, "he was my best friend..."
After how preseason went, were you expecting a start to the season like this?
"I felt like I had a chance to get on the podium, but I didn't think I would win the race. It was unexpected, even for me. It was certainly a pleasant surprise.”
How important is the role played by Aki Ajo?
"Aki is very important since he has a lot of experience in developing new talents. If I follow his advice, I know I can become a great rider. I trust him and I will try to continue growing taking advantage of whatever he shows me."
Aki Ajo, the star scouter in MotoGP™
What are you doing whilst there is no racing? Do you have a training routine worked out?
"During these weeks in which no Grands Prix are going to take place, I am going to stay with my family. These days, I have been playing with my daughters and my son. In terms of training, I like to go running. A few years ago I liked to ride bicycles, but now I prefer other types of sports."
What is spending time with your family like?
"I have a house in Japan where I live with my wife and my children. It is a little noisy because the children are always playing, but I love it - because I don’t know how I’d live without them. It also helps me to disconnect from racing, which is good because, if you think about something excessively, it ends up putting extra pressure on you. For me, being with my family helps me to relax and escape from it all."
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