The round eight, Grand Prix of Italy was held in Tolmezzo, the north east of Italy. There was no river, a familiar scene for the Italian events, for the section setup, and there were mostly dirt sections. It was raining until the morning on Sunday, and the difficulty was high on Lap1. At Lap2 however, the condition quickly become better thanks to hot-hot heat of the European summer.
Fujinami said it was a confident boosting event in France, where he finished third on a podium despite his rhythm was off. He also said he knew he had to get out of his usual third spot.
The starting order was the reverse order of the results in France, thus Fujinami was the third from the last followed by Bou, and Raga was the final starter. Like in France, the top three riders kept the order. At the section five, however, a bad luck struck Fujinami again. The rear brake became un-operational as he finished the section. Fujinami returned to the paddock for the repair job, as the section was not too far away from the paddock.
It took about a half an hour till Fujinami returned to the competition. In France, the two Spaniards waited until Fujinami's repair job finished, but they were gone in Italy. Fujinami caught them up at the section eight, though, and the three returned to 'Fujinami - Bou - Raga' formation again.
There were many tricky sections in Italy, but the big challenges were the section 13 and 14, dirt uphill, at the end of the lap. Fujinami and Raga fived at the section 13, but Bou rode with three points. At the section 14, where the majority of the riders fived, Fujinami rode with a single point. Bou followed to mark clean, and Raga rode with a single point as well. As the Lap1 was over, it was Bou who was first with 12 points. Fujinami and Raga both finished with 21 points, but the Japanese had more cleans to be second.
Fujinami said he never had time to relax at the Italian round partly because of the bike problem and also the short time-allowance. He had nine points gap going into the La2, a little bit too big gap to catch up it seemed like.
As the first eight sections of Lap2 were over, Bou had 20 points, Fujinami had 23 and Raga had 24. Fujinami marked clean at the section later, where Bou dropped two points, and Raga dropped one point. The point situation was then Bou with 22, Fujinami with 23, and Raga with 25. The battle for the victory became very interesting.
When Fujinami marked clean at the section 11, he caught up Bou as the Spaniard dropped a single mark at the section. The both had 23 points but Fujinami had two more cleans than Bou to re-captured the number one spot.
Although there was a thrilling point battle going on, Fujinami wasn't aware of it. Just like the previous rounds, he tried not to know the point situation. Still, Fujinami said he somehow sensed that he was at the good position. And the same time he thought he would give more push to fight strongly against the rivals.
At the section 12, Bou dropped a single mark, Raga dropped three, and Fujinami dropped two points; Bou had 24, Fujinami 25, and Raga 28. So the victory was to decide at the final three sections including two of the biggest challenges of the day, the section 13 and 14.
Fujinami could have chosen the safer ride by footing. He was sure he could ride with three point at the both sections if he did. Instead, he took the risk to pursuit cleans, otherwise he believed that the Lady Luck would not give him a smile.
The result shows that Fujinami fived at the both sections, where Bou and Raga rode with three and one. Fujinami's challenges didn't pay off, and not only he lost the fight for the victory, but he gave away the second spot to Raga.
Though the result was same old third for Fujinami, he fought strong to catch up Bou, by overcoming nine point gap at the end of Lap1. It was another podium finish for Fujinami, but he was too far from celebrating after making his fourth consecutive third.
I feel like I am sticking in the situation where I fight strongly, but cannot put it together, and finishing third all the time. I know now that I was first until the the very end of Lap2, so it was a very frustrating result for me.
|1||Adam Raga||Gas Gas||12+16+0||28||16|
|2||Toni Bou||Repsol Montesa HRC||21+11+0||32||16|
|3||Takahisa Fujinami||Repsol Montesa HRC||21+14+0||35||18|
|L1: Lap1, L2: Lap2, TO: Time Over, Pts: Penalty Point, CL:Clean|
|1||Toni Bou||Repsol Montesa HRC||151|
|2||Adam Raga||Gas Gas||136|
|3||Takahisa Fujinami||Repsol Montesa HRC||127|