The LCR Honda team today announced they have agreed to extend their contract with Takaaki Nakagami through the 2019 season. The Japanese rider will continue to race a satellite spec Honda RC213V with the Idemitsu-backed part of the Italian team alongside Cal Crutchlow.
The anouncement was widely expected, as Nakagami has had a solid rookie season, and done more than enough to earn an added year. Honda are keen to support a Japanese rider in MotoGP, as are Dorna, and Japanese lubricant firm Idemitsu are happy to help back that side of the garage.
Nakagami's signing brings the total up to 21 riders who have now signed a MotoGP contract for 2019. The only rider left to be confirmed is Tito Rabat, who is expected to continue with the Avintia Ducati team.
Below is the press release from the LCR Honda team:
TAKAAKI NAKAGAMI TO CONTINUE WITH LCR HONDA IDEMITSU IN 2019
PRESS RELEASE: 16 October 2018 | Official Announcement
On the eve of the Japanese Grand Prix at Motegi, the LCR Honda IDEMITSU MotoGP Team is delighted to announce that Takaaki Nakagami has extended his contract with Honda HRC for 2019 season. The 26-year-old born in Chiba will again ride the Honda RC213V thus completing HRC 2019 line-up for next year MotoGP World Championship.
Tetsuhiro Kuwata (HRC Director): “We’re very happy to announce that Nakagami will continue riding with the LCR Honda Team in 2019. He’s in his rookie season and we know that is a huge challenge for every rider, but even so he’s already showed his skills. He’s still learning and improving day by day in the toughest category in motorcycle racing and we are pretty confident we will see his experience on track in the future. We wish him and the LCR Honda MotoGP Team all the best for the remainder of this season and now look forward to enjoying our home race in Motegi this weekend”.
Takaaki Nakagami (LCR Honda IDEMITSU MotoGP rider): “First of all I am really happy to continue with LCR Honda IDEMITSU Team in 2019. A big thank you goes to our sponsor IDEMITSU for its great support and of course to Honda HRC for believing in my skills and providing a competitive technical package. This Team is very professional and I could not ask for more in my debut season in the premier class, so I am very happy to continue with Lucio and his crew. I can’t wait to start the new season but at the same time I am very focused on my home race in Motegi and the last races of this 2018 championship”.
Lucio Cecchinello (LCR Honda Team Principal): “We are very happy that IDEMITSU and Honda HRC have renewed their support to Nakagami for next season because it was a real pleasure working with him in his first experience in the major category. Debuting in the MotoGP class is not an easy transition for a rider because the level is extremely high but Taka has demonstrated very remarkable skills and a will to learn, finishing quite often as the best Rookie of the category. On behalf of the whole Team I would like to express my deepest gratitude to IDEMITSU and Honda HRC for giving us the chance to continue our journey with Taka and succeed in the new challenges ahead”.