Rd.01 Grand Prix of Qatar: Sunday, March 26, 2017
Ambient: 22℃ / Track: 23℃
IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia's Takaaki Nakagami was off to a promising start to the 2017 Moto2 season by finishing 3rd on the podium in the Qatar Grand Prix.
Starting from 4th position in Row 2, the Japanese rider maintained consistent lap times, and on Lap 9 moved up to 3rd position, on target for a podium finish. Maintaining his pace until the end, Nakagami finished the race with a well-deserved 3rd place to collect sixteen championship points.
Teammate Khairul Idham Pawi crossed the finish line in 28th place. By completing the 20-lap race, the young Malaysian learned more about the secrets of Moto2 world championship racing.
The next race, Argentina, will be in a fortnight, with the first free practice session set to start at 10:55 am local time on April 7.
Takaaki Nakagami (3nd, 40'21.784, +3.304)
“I never looked back during the race because I thought If I had, I might lose the podium. I just concentrated on catching Tom and gave my 100% all through the race. Compared to Morbi and Tom’s bikes, mine was sliding a bit more and unstable, and it was difficult to control. Having said that, today’s result gave us good momentum, and starting the season with the podium is very positive for the championship.”
Khairul Idham Pawi (28th, 41'09.686, +51.206)
“I wouldn’t say it is a decent result for us, but it was my first race in Moto2 and I learned a lot over the 20 laps. Especially, in the final laps, the tires slid a lot. This is the area I have to manage better and improve to control it. We can do better race by race.”
Tadayuki Okada Team Manager
“We are pleased and relieved that Taka was on the podium today. We still have to improve the bike so he can show his potential and keep on finishing within the top-3. For Pawi, he learned many things in the race. With Moto2, you need more riding skills than in Moto3, and today’s experience gave him a good opportunity to learn about the bike, so he will be able to make use of it in next races.”