Nakano will race on the Aprilia RSV4 on the new WSBK team for the Piaggio-owned manufacturer. A native of Tokyo, Japan, Nakano will make the transition to Superbike racing after ten years on the Grand Prix circuit. Nakano has started in every premier-class Grand Prix race since the MotoGP class was established in 2002.
“Superbike is a new challenge, I want to risk all of my experience to help the new Aprilia RSV4 project,” says Nakano. “It will be an honor to be able to race beside Max Biaggi, he is a hero of mine and he was an inspiration to me in the first phases of my career. I am sure that together we will succeed in developing the best motorbike and to already get good results in the season 2009”
Nakano is signed for the 2009 season with an option for 2010.
“With the signing of Nakano we complete the World Superbike team for 2009,” says Giampiero Sacchi, sporting director of the Piaggio Group. “Aprilia faces difficult competition, with the greatest constructors in the world as adversaries. It is a hard but fascinating challenge. Biaggi and Nakano are both fast, competitive and with great experience. These are the most important things for an innovative, technological and ambitious project like Aprilia RSV4.”
Nakano’s best season came in 2000 where he finished second in the 250cc World Championship, just seven points behind Tech 3 Yamaha teammate Olivier Jacques. That season came down to the final race where Nakano finished 0.014 seconds short of the championship. In 2008, Nakano raced for Gresini Honda and recorded his best season in the MotoGP class with a ninth-place finish.