Takaaki Nakagami will start from a joint career-best ninth place on the grid in Sunday’s Grand Prix of Argentina, after another impressive day of practice on board his LCR Honda IDEMITSU machine.

The Japanese rider has been in fine form all weekend and looked seriously fast in race trim, however having just missed out on going directly through to Qualifying 2, the 27-year-old was forced to take part in the preliminary Q1 session. He negotiated that challenge comfortably, setting the fastest time of the 15 minutes, and then went on to clock a best lap of 1’39.038 in the qualifying final to seal a third row start for the 25-lap race.

#30 Takaaki Nakagami 9th (1’39.038)

“I’m pretty happy about the second day here in Argentina because we are improving session by session. We were also quite competitive in FP4 in terms of race pace. In qualifying I was a bit disappointed to have to go through Q1, but I tried to make a step forward in that session. We went through to Q2 as the top rider, and then did my level best to take ninth place again.

 “I’m really happy about how the LCR Honda IDEMITSU team has worked, so a big thanks to them. Importantly for tomorrow it looks like the weather will be tricky, but we will try and do the best with what we get. If it’s dry, I believe we can definitely fight for the top seven or eight, which is positive progress.”