Cecchinello über MotoGP-Rookie Nakagami

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Lucio Cecchinello, Ex-GP-Fahrer und Teamchef seit 1996.

Lucio Cecchinello ist LCR-Honda-Teamchef. Sich mit ihm zu unterhalten, ist ein besonderes Vergnügen, weil er ein freundlicher Zeitgenosse ist, der weiss, wie man seine Zuhörer fesselt. Hier der Aufschrieb des Gesprächs zu seinem zweiten Fahrer Takaaki Nakagami (neben Cal Crutchlow) beim Silverstone-GP letzte Woche:

? Tell us about Takaaki Nakagami after the first half of his Rookie-MotoGP-Season

Lucio Cecchinello:»I always have been conscious on the fact, that Nakagami would have to face a veryvery tough season, because not only because he steps up from Moto2, but also because the motogp level is extremely high. Beeing a rookie you need to understand so many things, the racetrack, the bike, the riding style, the electronics, the communication with the new team, everything was and is still very new for him. So I exspected that Nakagami would finish races between P10 und P15, not better. Sometimes we are P12, sometimes P14, sometimes P15 or P17. So honestly, we are a little bit low on target, in terms on points in the championship, in terms of final results after the chequered flag.«

Takaaki Nakagami, Honda RC213V

»But my judgement is based on how he is riding the bike, how he is learning, how he improves his performance and last but not least the performance of his bike, which is not the same as Cal´s bike. The top speed of Nakagamis bike is between 8 and 10 km/h slower. Because it is a previous year machine. Nakagami is a rookie, so Honda they did not want to give the latest specification, because he would feel even more pressure. Between Crutchlows RC213V and his bike is about half a second of pure technical performance. So whenever I see the times sheet and compare with Cal, I always take out a second, ideally. An then this is the real position for Nakagami to me.«

»However I want to say, that my point of view is better. When we have to deal with a young rookie coming from Europe or even south Europe, they have the fire and they take a lot of risk. They go 100 % for it. While in the Japanese culture, when they go in a new envirement, they take time to understand. They are always careful. It is part of the mentality not to push themselves like hell on unkown environment. This is why Nakagamis performance gets really interesting in the second part of the race. Because in the second part of the race sometimes he is better than top ten-riders. This is my explanation: He takes his time to get confidence to the bike until he arrives at the point where he gets comfortable and then he starts to perform. And this is something which belongs to his natural.«

In Regenhaut beschirmt am Grid.

»So it is not easy to tell him to take more risk at the beginning of the race, its his first year and especially in the first part of the race. However he is trying to understand. What we have done together with his personal trainer is to change his training system, Before it was start slowly and then ask for reasonable performance after a period of time. This changed. Now as we start training, we ask for the maximum performance. The most difficult exercice was the maximum level of concentration, so we help to try and be more strong in the first part of the race. If you have a spanish rider, you have to do the opposite, because trying too much also creates desaster. Nakagami also crashes of course, but the number of crashes are quite limited compared to some other rookies.«

»I have never ridden a MotoGP-bike myself. I would like to, but at least a full day, not just 2 laps, but this is not possible. I can only answer by having heard or what riders telling me. You have to deal with an extreme amount of power. The most difficult is to tell the engineers how to manage and how to cut the power. Then the riding style. You have so much power, that you need to force yourself to be slow in the center of the corner in order to be able to pick up the bike as soon as possible to use maximum power for quicker acceleration.«

MotoGP-Rookie: Nakagami.

»If you go fast through the corner, you cannot open the throttle early enough to take the benefit of tremendous amount of acceleration. So first you have to deal with a lot of power and second you have to change and adapt your riding style. And not everybody understands very quickly. Casey Stoner for example understood immediately. I remember switching with him from 250 on to a MotoGP-bike. First race in Katar he got pole position! This was an extreme sign of high talent. Some riders need longer to understand. The power in MotoGP is simply overwhelming.  We have almost 300 horsepower, okay 295 HP, for 158 kg of bike weight. No other class has a such a powerful ratio of power and weight. The acceleration up to 100 km/h is 2,1 seconds. And all this amount of power is difficult to manage, the rear wheel is always spinning….«

Home, sweet home: LCR-Hospitality.

»But the most difficult for a young rider is to trust the front tyre, to enter the corner with tremendous amount of brake pressure and to lean the bike up to 62 or 63 degree with the brake on. This is someting that is not natural. You need to force yourself so much to trust the front tyre. Sometimes I go riding on a race track with a Honda CBR 1000 RR and it is really difficult for me to trust and lean up to 50 degree. Now imagine 63 degree lean angle, much more power and much more brake-pressure into the tyre – it is a big task to ride a MotoGP-machine and you need to be somewhat crazy – a bit!«

LCR-Honda-Pilot Cal Crutchlow beim Heim-GP in Silverstone.

Fotos: Buenos Dias, Michelin

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Gerhard Rudolph, fährt Honda CB 1300 und am liebsten Jethelm mit dunklem Visier.

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