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LCR Honda MotoGP team adds Takaaki Nakagami for 2018 season

Honda has announced that its protege Takaaki Nakagami will graduate to MotoGP next season as part of an expanded two-bike LCR team alongside Cal Crutchlow

Lucio Cecchinello said his team would be "expanded with crew members who boast vast experience" to accomodate 25-year-old Nakagami, whose move up from Moto2 has been rumoured since early in the season.

"This project, alongside our current programme with Cal Crutchlow, marks the fulfilment of our sporting ambitions," said Cecchinello.

"I am truly delighted, and in the name of the whole LCR Honda team, I think it is fair to say that we are all extremely motivated to work with a rookie like Taka, because ever since he made his debut as a youngster he has shown huge potential."

Nakagami has been a Moto2 regular since 2012, having previously won domestic 125cc and Moto2 titles in Japan.

He took a breakthrough first world championship-level Moto2 victory at Assen last year on his way to sixth in the points.

But he is only seventh in the standings so far in 2017, with three podium finishes.

His deal, supported by Honda and MotoGP promoter Dorna, returns LCR to a two-bike line-up for the first time since it fielded Jack Miller alongside Crutchlow in 2015.

It follows Crutchlow securing a factory Honda contract for next season.

Nakagami becomes the first full-time MotoGP rider from Japan since Hiroshi Aoyama, who has made sporadic appearances as a wildcard and replacement rider since losing his Aspar Honda seat at the end of 2014.

2018 MotoGP line-up so far

Yamaha: Maverick Vinales, Valentino Rossi
Tech3 Yamaha: Johann Zarco, Jonas Folger
Honda: Marc Marquez, Dani Pedrosa
LCR Honda: Cal Crutchlow, Takaaki Nakagami
Marc VDS Honda: Franco Morbidelli, tba
Ducati: Andrea Dovizioso, Jorge Lorenzo
Pramac Ducati: Danilo Petrucci, Jack Miller
Aspar Ducati: Alvaro Bautista, tba
Avintia Ducati: tba, tba
Aprilia: Aleix Espargaro, Scott Redding
Suzuki: Andrea Iannone, Alex Rins
KTM: Pol Espargaro, Bradley Smith

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