Crutchlow backs rookie Nakagami

Cal Crutchlow has commended rookie team-mate Takaaki Nakagami, and said he believes the Japanese youngster is doing better than he did in his first year in MotoGP.

LCR Honda rider Nakagami made the step up from Moto2 this year and started well, earning points in four of his first five races.

Things haven’t gone so smoothly since then, with the 26-year-old rider currently 21st in the championship and trailing fellow 2018 rookies Hafizh Syahrin and Franco Morbidelli, but Crutchlow reckons he’s doing pretty well so far.

“I think he’s done well,” Crutchlow told Autosport.

“He’s not made too many mistakes, he’s finished most of the races.

“I think he’s done a good job, he’s done a better job than what I did in my rookie year.

“You have to look at a lot of the guys who come across on the Honda in their rookie year, he’s handed [Tom] Luthi his arse.”

Despite not finishing in Germany, Nakagami showed his promise as he was quickest through the series of fast left-handers and earned fifth place on the grid in qualifying, riding that impressed Crutchlow.

“He was a rocket in the third and fourth sectors,” added the Brit. “He was first in the third sector and second in the fast corners. But that’s what you get coming from Moto2, the corner speed.”