An exclusive chat with LCR Honda Idemitsu’s Takaaki Nakagami about his career and where it all started, the role of his parents during his racing career and when the competitive instinct was unhinged comes your way on Episode 30 of the MotoGP™ Podcast.
“They bought me a small bike when I was four years old, they didn’t focus on two wheels. They love four wheels so they were thinking about me being a Formula 1 driver,” explains Nakagami, talking about his very first experience with a bike. “But at that time they didn’t have small options on four wheels so they got me two wheels…I started in a parking lot, a very small area just for fun. Then I started, little by little, to enjoy it…
“The first time I don’t clearly remember it but I don’t think I enjoyed it so much, I think I was scared. But I kept going and tried to practice little by little and one day my parents aid ‘ok, today we can go on a small track’, and the first time I saw the circuit…I think my feeling was that I didn’t want to, because I didn’t enjoy it so much, but my parents said ‘do this’ and I followed, like a typical young kid. But after that I started to jump on the bike on the track. I was very slow. My parents say I was very slow!”
The Japanese star goes on to talk about his first year of racing: “The first year in my racing career, I was last. But last position was like being lapped once or twice! After the first race my parents said, ‘Ok maybe we should finish this’. They thought I had no talent and there wasn’t much chance of me doing that as I grew up. But my parents said that after that, I wanted to do more laps and more practice. After that, practice every day and then I started to go faster. It took time but I think six or seven months later I got my first victory.”
The conversation continues onto more recent history. A Moto2™ winner turned ever-improving MotoGP™ rider, Nakagami has plenty left up his sleeve in the premier class. To listen to the rest of the in-depth chat, simply click this link!