Nakagami went into his fourth 12 months within the premier class hoping to construct on a breakout 2020 marketing campaign by which he scored his first pole place, emerged as a constant top-six challenger and ended up 10th within the riders’ standings.
Nevertheless, regardless of gaining access to the latest-spec Honda RC213V for the primary time in 2021, Nakagami endured a dismal season that yielded simply six top-10 outcomes and a last putting of 15th, albeit outscoring LCR teammate Alex Marquez.
In an interview with Motorsport.com’s Japanese version, Nakagami gave a frank evaluation when requested how he would grade his season, saying: “Possibly 2 out of 10.
“It’s as a result of with the momentum we had final 12 months, each me and the group thought, ‘this 12 months it is going to occur’, however as an alternative we went backwards.
“Although we had quite a lot of troublesome races, there have been nonetheless loads of occasions that I ought to have gotten higher outcomes, which is why I’m giving myself such a low grade.”
Nakagami’s season began off badly as he failed to attain in both Qatar race, and whereas his fortunes improved with fourth place at Jerez and seventh at Le Mans, he managed only one different top-six outcome all season, within the Styrian GP on the Purple Bull Ring.
Explaining his points additional, he mentioned: “Like the opposite Honda riders, we didn’t have sufficient rear grip, and this affected the braking and made it onerous to discover a good steadiness. Primarily, we couldn’t clear up this drawback all season, and that was why I struggled a lot.
“There have been some circuits the place it was higher, and we had been capable of have good races at Jerez and in Austria, however apart from these nothing went my means and we couldn’t get any good outcomes. It was a season stuffed with struggles.”
Nakagami faces a vital 2022 season as his contract is up for renewal, and for the primary time since he joined MotoGP he faces a reputable menace for his Idemitsu-backed LCR trip within the type of standout Japanese Moto2 rookie Ai Ogura.
The 29-year-old recognized psychological power as a key weak point to enhance, and plans to deal with this with a brand new coaching regime between now and the beginning of pre-season testing.
“If I keep it up like this [next year], the outcomes would be the similar,” mentioned Nakagami. “I’m not on the stage the place I would like extra expertise, so if I can enhance what I would like to enhance, the outcomes ought to observe naturally.
“Concerning my velocity, I’ve nonetheless been capable of present myself in observe, it’s not like I’ve simply been continually gradual, and but I haven’t had good ends in the races. I believe the sentiments of stress and adrenaline are fairly completely different in qualifying in comparison with the race.
“Subsequently, it’s vital to enhance on the psychological aspect, and by doing this I wish to present my velocity and power subsequent 12 months. I’ve to get better and take a giant step ahead.”
Interview by Akira Nishimura