IDEMITSU Honda Team Asia rider Takaaki Nakagami staged a thrilling race, running 2nd in today’s Australian Grand Prix. A seemingly guaranteed podium was not to be, as he fell on the penultimate lap and retired. Malaysian Teammate Khairul Idham Pawi crossed the checkered flag in 21st place.
At 2:20 pm, the race started with Nakagami on 7th place grid. The Japanese rider gained positions in a dramatic charge, moving up up to 2nd on Lap 20. He kept up a relentless chase for the lead, but on Lap 23, he got stuck in neutral at the entry of Turn 9, causing him to fall.
Meanwhile, Pawi started the race from the 28th grid. The Malaysian Moto2 rookie showed strong determination throughout the race, setting his best lap time of the weekend on Lap 9.
The next race weekend, the Malaysian Grand Prix commences on October 27 at Sepang Circuit, with Free Practice 1 for the intermediate class starting at 10:55 local time (GMT +8)
Khairul Idham Pawi （21st, 40’23.468, +57.548）
“I was comfortable and confident with my bike, so I was able to push harder than yesterday. Compared to other riders, I just felt we still missed something in the turns, especially in the final section. Anyway, I am happy that I had a good feel with the bike today. The next race will be very important because it’s my home race. I hope I can get a good result there for my family, friends, and home crowds.”
Takaaki Nakagami （DNF, 36’20.137, 2laps）
“We ran on an extra-hard compound for the rear as Dunlop had suggested. Although it took a little while to get a good feel, I regained positions consistently once I understood the tires. I had very good feel especially in the high-speed turns. I almost gave up chasing the race leader and settle for 2nd place, but I changed my strategy because i have to do my best even if the chances are very slim. Unfortunately, the gear locked in neutral all of sudden at the entry of Turn 9 on the penultimate lap. Then, the front tire locked and I fell. It was very unlucky and I am disappointed. Anyway, we will try again next weekend in Sepang.”
Tadayuki Okada – Team Manager
“It started raining in the final few laps when Taka moved up to 2nd position. The race leader slowed down a bit and the distance between them closed up, so Taka decided to push harder. That was when the gear slipped into neutral. Taka was very disappointed with the results because he had good pace, but the positive thing is that he can take this momentum to the next races. Pawi improved his best lap time during the race. I think he learned many things during the battle with other riders. For the next race, we will fully support him to finish within the top 15 at his home race.”