With Marc Marquez absent, Crutchlow grappling with a broken scaphoid and Alex with the tag of rookie, it was up to Takaaki Nakagami to keep the Honda flag flying at Jerez. The Japanese LCR man set the best time in the afternoon, which earned him 8th on aggregate times. All using the medium tyre on the rear.
“In the morning I had used the soft tyre, it didn’t behave badly but after 20 laps I was struggling, it was sliding a lot - he explained - Today everyone suffered from graining on the left side of the tyre, it's not just a Honda problem. The track conditions had changed, there was less grip, but in the afternoon my feelings improved, despite the heat. If anything, the problem is the front, even the hard tyre is too soft for us, but it is the only one we have. "
However, these problems did not limit you…
“It was a good start; in the past few days I carefully analysed all the data from the past weekend with the team and I found some solutions. I managed to be more consistent and the RC213V is now easier to ride. "
Does not having Marc on the track change anything for you?
“Not much, apart from the fact that Takeo (Yokohama, the head of HRC, Ed.) has more time to stay in my garage. In the past few days I discussed a few things with him, together we compared my data with that of Marquez and I saw the differences. Now I'm using a setting that is closer to Marc's. "
Are you ready to do the same tomorrow in qualifying?
"Why not? I started well, with the team we did a great job and I will try to fight for pole position. It won't be easy, but I can do it. As I said, the Honda is now easier to ride and I also manage to be more consistent. Marc continues to have a special way of riding and managing the bike, I want to study it to work on myself too ".
Is your bike identical to the one he rode last year?
“I wouldn’t know, in the tests in Qatar I tried different frames and a lot more material. It was like building a puzzle, because I had so many pieces available, including those made for Lorenzo. I tried them and I chose the best ones for me ”.