Takaaki Nakagami will start the Czech Republic Grand Prix from the fifth row of the grid after a damp day of qualifying at Brno. Having finished outside the top 10 on Friday, the LCR Honda IDEMITSU rider had no chance to secure an automatic passage to Q2 as rain ensured wet track conditions throughout Saturday.
The Japanese star struggled in both FP3 and FP4 on a wet but drying track and headed into Q1 as Friday’s lap times remained unchallenged. It looked like Nakagami was poised to take one of the two spots for Q2, but a late surge from Johann Zarco pushed him back to third position and meant he will start Sunday’s race from 13th on the grid.
Takaaki Nakagami: “It was really tough conditions. In Q1, this track was changing a lot lap by lap, every minute conditions were changing quickly – some areas were completely dry and some areas were fully wet. In Q1 I don’t think anybody thought about going to slicks. We struggled with the wet conditions in FP3 and FP4, we tried both soft and medium compounds, but didn’t have a good feeling with either. In the end we chose medium and medium, but I’m disappointed we didn’t get through to Q2. We had a chance right until the end, but then (Johann) Zarco improved his lap time and I was knocked out. Now we’re focusing on tomorrow and conditions look like they will be mixed, so we have to prepare well for any conditions. It’s difficult to plan a strategy, but maybe tomorrow morning after the warm-up we’ll discuss things as a team.”