Tetsuta Nagashima will make his MotoGP debut as a Honda wild-card at his home Japanese Grand Prix.
Nagashima spent five seasons in the Moto2 class, winning the 2020 Qatar season opener for the Red Bull Ajo team, then finishing runner-up at round two in Jerez.
However no further podiums followed and, after finishing a career-best eighth in the world championship, Nagashima announced he would be missing from the 2021 grid.
Nagashima then became a HRC test rider and competed in this year’s Suzuka 8 Hours alongside Takumi Takahashi and Iker Lecuona, putting the team on pole position and contributing to Honda’s first Suzuka victory since 2014.
“I will be competing in the premier MotoGP class, which I have dreamed of since I was a child,” said Nagashima. “It is only a wild-card entry for one race, but I will do my very best, and show my appreciation to HRC for giving me this opportunity with good results.
“In the Suzuka 8 Hours, everything went well from testing throughout race week and we won, so I’ll keep this momentum going into the Grand Prix of Japan.
“I feel that through conducting development tests as an HRC rider this year, my skills as a rider are improving, so I hope everyone will see how Tetsuta Nagashima rides now.
“I’ll do my best, so I hope everyone at the track, and spectators watching TV, will cheer for me.”
Nagashima will be the third home rider on the MotoGP grid at Motegi alongside LCR Honda regular Takaaki Nakagami and Suzuki wild-card Takuya Tsuda.