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Dustin Wheelen

Taka Nakagami Declared Medically Unfit For Australian Grand Prix

Takaaki “Taka” Nakagami has endured a rocky 2022 MotoGP season. Like all Honda riders not named Marc Marquez, the Idamitsu Honda man has struggled with his RC213V this year. After 17 rounds, Nakagami has only finished in the point-scoring positions nine times. He currently resides at 18th place in the championship standings, but his season has been more eventful than those stats portray.

At the 2022 Catalan Grand Prix, Taka became a source of controversy after crashing on the opening lap, collecting Suzuki’s Alex Rin’s and Ducati's championship contender Pecco Bagnaia at the first corner. The Japanese rider didn’t just receive the brunt of the blame, he bore the brunt of the impact, running head-first into Bagnaia’s back wheel.

Number 30 apologized to the involved riders and the MotoGP fans for his ambitious move, but he became the victim of a similar situation just three months later. When Marc Marquez returned to the Grand Prix paddock for the Aragon Grand Prix, the six-time MotoGP champ came off yet another right arm surgery.

After making contact with defending champion Fabio Quartararo at turn three, Marquez continued to press on. Unbeknownst to him, Quartararo’s Yamaha M1 winglet got lodged between Marquez’s rear wheel and tail section. The mechanical issue pushed number 93 right into Taka Nakagami, dismounting the satellite rider and injuring his right hand.

The lone Japanese MotoGP rider fought through the pain at his home Grand Prix, but his injuries kept him from competing in Thailand the very next week. Sadly, it looks like Taka will have to sit out yet again as the World Championship heads to Phillip Island.

“After the Japanese GP I had another surgery on my fingers and they are getting better day by day but it is still a bit difficult to grab some items,” noted Nakagami. “I feel fine, I don’t feel any pain but the doctor recommended that I have to rest for at least two more weeks which means that I will miss the Australian GP.”

Nakagami recently signed a contract extension with the Idamitsu Honda team for the 2023 season. With that deal in tow, the rider doesn’t need to risk further damage by rushing back to the grid. In his place, Honda Racing Corporation test rider Tetsuta Nagashima will compete at the Australian round.

“Next Monday I have another medical check to take out the stitches and then we’ll decide if I can race in Malaysia,” Nakagami revealed. “Meantime, I wish to Nagashima san and my team all the best in Phillip Island.”

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