2014 Trial World Championship Round7

Alagna, Italy 1/6/2014

Sixth Again

photoA week after the European Grand Prix in Corsica, in which the event ended with confusion with only the results for one day, Trial World Championship moved up to the northern Italy for the round 7 at a small town by the foot of the alps locates about 1,000 meters above the sea. It was the battle at high elevation, as some of the sections were located at 1,500 meters. Fujinami had a hard time in Corsica, with the sections consisted of rugged coastal rocks with very good tractions. Comparing to them, there was a variety of sections, some were at the slope, rocky sections and water sections, a typical outdoor style in Italy, and Fujinami finds them more attractive.

The condition of the knee for Fujinami was not good at all in France. He took the fluid out from the knee after returning to Spain, which was the treatment he has not done lately, contrary to that he had to take it out every time after the competition during X-trial season. The amount of the fluid accumulated was the biggest, showing how bad the condition was. However, his condition-riding wise-was not so bad after the treatment. He had to take pain killer before riding, but it did not seem to be the only the reason. So, although there was no radical improvement with the knee, Fujinami had a positive feeling toward the Italian Grand Prix with the sections somehow could work better to him than ones in Corsica.

A part of the reasons Fujinami struggled in Corsica was that he could not find the fine matching with the bike. Thanks to the manufacturer and the team's devoted work, there are continuous and non stop improvements to the bike. The riders need to adapt and find the perfect matching to the new settings, which is not easy to do sometimes. The bike Fujinami rode in Corsica was shipped directly to Alagna, and the team brought another bike with a different setting so the Japanese rider could choose. Fujinami, after a deep thoughts, picked the one that he already rode in Corsica, because he was not sure how he would be able to adapt to the bike with the different settings.

A travel to Italy was not without problem as there was a strike by the Italian airline company, so he had to travel in advance, arriving Italy on Thursday instead of Friday in the initial schedule.

Fujinami rode the bike in the training area to find the black rocks around the area were very slippery when wet. The sections found to be comparatively easy, but because of the slippery rocks, the severity could turn to be very high. Still, Fujinami, along with many other competitors, expected that the victory would be battled with the riding of about ten points a lap, and the battle became exactly what the competitors predicted. The only unexpected thing was that Fujinami was not within the battle after dropping massive 42 points at Lap1. He made two full mark errors at the beginning of the lap. After dropping five points at the first section, he made another full mark error at the Section3. It did not seem to be a big problem, as the section was a tough challenge for many other riders, too. But he started to feel anxious when he made more full mark errors at the Section4 and 6. He could not find his own riding nor could find the good matching to the bike. He continued to
make mistakes here and there.

He halted for a while trying to regain composure. He knew he was spending valuable time, but it was better than just dragging the bad rhythm. Unfortunately, stopping for a while, he saw how the other riders were doing, which was the kind of information he did not need, and the information messed his concentration a little, too. The slippery rocks were unforgiving once making an error on, forcing the riders to end with a full mark error rapidly. Fujinami was one of the victims, but he knew he could not blame on the conditions.

Fujinami improved his riding at the second lap, cut down the penalty points from 42 to 25 at Lap2, then 21 points at Lap3. It was not because he found any secret, but he got used to the bike and the condition of the sections as the competition got progressed. He marked ten cleans out of 36 sections, but he was not fully convinced with his riding even when marking clean. It seemed that the day's competition ended before he found his own riding again.

Bou recaptured the number one spot in the standings with the victory in Italy, after the spot was taken by Raga in Corsica. Fujinami in turn gave the third spot away to Cabestany with his sixth place finish. The gap is only three points, and there is a plenty lot time for Fujinami to bounce back.

Quote from Fujigas:

Again I feel bad to everybody that I have nothing to tell the bright side. Likewise in France, I am fortunate to finish sixth with the riding I did today, as I could have finished even lower. I think I am lucky that the Italian Grand Prix was in one day format, as well as the Saturday's results in France was voided. Although I am stuck in the bad mood, I have some luck with me I guess. My position in the standings moved down. It is not a good thing at all, but I am more aware to be away from the podium for some time. We have a long way to go, as far as the standings go, so I will try to find the good match with the bike and get fully ready for the next round to be able to finish up on the podium. I need to get back my own riding, hopefully I will be in Belgium.

2014 Trial World Championship
Round7 Alagna, Italy
1 Toni Bou Repsol Honda 32
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 59
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 69
4 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 70
5 James Dabill Beta 83
6 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Honda 96
7 Pol Tarres Sherco 112
8 Matteo Grattarola Gas Gas 119
1 Toni Bou Repsol Honda 108
2 Adam Raga Gas Gas 107
3 Albert Cabestany Sherco 81
4 Takahisa Fujinami Repsol Honda 78
5 Jeroni Fajardo Beta 72
6 James Dabill Beta 58
7 Jorge Casales Gas Gas 54
8 Pol Tarres Sherco 42