2015 Trial World Championship Round1-2

Twin Ring Motegi, Japan April 25-26/2015

Fujigas Returned, Up on the Podium

photo015 Trial World Championship kicked off at Twin Ring Motegi, in Japan. It was where Takahisa Fujinami made his comeback to the world championship after being out of the competition for about half a year due to having an operation on his knee. Fujinami fought hard and finished strong thanks to all the support of Japanese fans. It was a perfect stage for Fujinami to make his comeback at his home Grand Prix, it also happened to be the opening round of Fujinami's 20th championship year.


Coming home from his home in Spain, Fujinami spent busy time, as usual, before the Japanese Grand Prix. He had an open press conference at the headquarters of Honda in Tokyo, where he was joined by Toni Bou, Jaime Busto, Tomoyuki Ogawa, and Akira Shibata. Fujinami brought excitement to the occasion with his humorous comments, as well as being an interpreter and as a host for Bou and Busto.

It was the season opener for Twin Ring Motegi after two years. Although having extra pressure of expectation from the fans, as well as being the rider coming out of break, Fujinami was pleased to start it over again at his home land.

photoAt Motegi, Fujinami had a 2015 Montesa Cota 4RT prepared by HRC. His team mate Bou rode 2014 bike. It was the choice made by the Spaniard, as the bike was very new and he did not have much time on it. Fujinami, on the other hand, was at his recovering process, so he picked the fresh bike if he had to get used to again. It was only Fujinami and Ogawa, who was in charge of the development of the bike, that rode the 2015 Honda bikes.

Bou struggled to finish 2nd at Japanese Grand Prix for both days last year due to injury. This year, he wasted no time showing his dominance producing clean after clean as the competition got underway. Fujinami found it a bit hard to get going and made errors here and there to finish Lap1 with 24 points. It was Bou, of course, who finished 1st at Lap1 with seven points followed by Fajardo with nine points, and Raga with 14 points. Fujinami felt it would be difficult to catch them up to join in the top battle with a big point gap as early as at the end of Lap1. Still there were only three riders, who rode better than the Japanese, so he was fourth with Cabestany chasing hard with a point separation.

Fujinami did not improve his riding a lot at the Lap2. He made a point mistake at the Section2, then he fived at the Section3 and 4 as he did at the previous lap. He however marked four consecutive cleans from the Section7 to 10 to finish the lap with 17 points, seven points less than Lap1. The riders, who finished worse than Fujinami at Lap1 did not have a chance to improve their riding so much at Lap2, so the Montesa rider held his position to move on to the final lap.

photoFujinami went onto Lap3, and he failed at the Section3 for the third time. He improved his riding at the Section4 with three points. He had a hard time at the section, but Bou in contrast marked three cleans, and Cebastany did so for two times. Fujinami continued with three point at the Section5, fived at the Section6 at a muddy slope. He went on with another three point at the Section10, and a single point at the Section11 to completed the lap with 20 points.

Although Fujinami had to wait for the rest of the riders' results to know his final standing, he knew he missed the podium finish with a huge point separation among himself and the top three riders. Cabestany was the biggest concern for Fujinami for his position, as the Spaniard was nine points behind the Japanese at the end of Lap2. He indeed caught up Fujinami when he marked clean at the Section10. Having more number of cleans, the Sherco rider moved up to fourth. However, Cabestany too had his own weak point, having fived two times at the Section11 already. He tried his third, but he failed again. He made another point mistake at the Section12 to finish the lap with 17 points, three points less than Fujinami, but he handed fourth back to Fujinami by six points, the points equal to what he lost at the final two sections.

It was a good result for Fujinami to be able to finish at fourth for his comeback round, and considering the fact that he struggles last year with some fifths and sixths finishes. Only thing that bothered Fujinami was that there was a huge gap to the top three, which made him wondered a bit if he would have a chance be able to join the top battle.


Being fourth, Fujinami started fifth from the last on Sunday. The direct rival on Saturday, Cabestany started one and half minute before him, but Fujinami concentrated on his own riding and tried not to follow the Spaniard.

photoOver night modifications took place, and one of them, the Section3, already hard for Fujinami, in which the section he failed three times on Saturday, became more difficult after reducing the selection of riding lines. The section became invincible for everybody, even for Bou. Although the reigning champion managed to mark clean at Lap1, he failed at his later attempts. It was actually a relief for Fujinami as he had a hard time at the section already on Saturday, but he no longer had to worry about it. Fujinami instead made mistakes at the Section2 and 4. Regrettable mistakes because the sections seemed to be cleanable for many of his rivals. He lost 15 points at the beginning of the lap, almost repeating his performance on Saturday. He made some mistakes at the hill climb sections to finish the lap with 24 points. Rivals also struggled on Sunday, and there were only Bou and Raga, who finished better than the Japanese rider.

At Lap2, Fujinami improved his riding at the Section2 and 4 with a single point and a clean, respectively. He made some mistakes at the hill climb sections, but marked five consecutive cleans from the Section8 to 12 to finish with 17 points. Fajardo and Raga both rode the lap with 13 points, so Fujinami moved down to fourth with Cabestany chasing closely with the gap of six points.

Fujinami seemed finally restored his concentration at Lap3. Besides the full mark error at the Section3, he made three mistakes only, a single point at the Section4, three points at the Section5, and a single point at the Section9, to finish the lap with ten points. It was the second best score of the day following Bou's seven point riding at Lap1 when he succeeded at the Section3. Ten point riding was an identical score done by Bou at Lap3, as well.

Although being 17 points down from the winner Bou, finishing with the same score with Bou at Lap2 and 3 made Fujinami happy to have a feel to get involed in the battle for the victory. He still had to wait for Fajardo and Raga to find out exactly what position he would end up, though. It was all up to them if Fujinami would finish fourth or to be on the podium.

Then, there was a report that both Fajardo and Raga made a five point mistake at the Section11. According to the information that Fujinami had, he thought he was fourth before hearing the news, so he thought the the Gas Gas rider handed him over the third place. A decisive mistake at the end of the lap might have shook up Raga that the Spaniard made another full mark error at the final section to finish with 59 points, eight points behind the Japanese rider. Fajardo meanwhile marked clean at the Section12.

photoThanks to the sophisticated data transmission system at Motegi, Fujinami saw the results, which told that there were two points between Fajardo and Fujinami, and the Japanese rider was third as the competition was over. Fujinami was happy and ready to accept the result of a position better than the previous day, and to stand on the podium in front of the Japanese fans. Then Mr. Cirera came back to the pit and he started to congratulate Fujinami for his second place finish. Bou came by and did so too.

Fujinami was puzzled by the warm words, because the competition reports from Motegi did not tell him so. Mr. Cirera said he was sure for the data he had. Afterall, those flash reports were provisional, not an official results, so he went out to find out what the official results said on the score board.

Fajardo came to visit when Fujinami was nursing his knee, which was giving him a bit of pain after days of hard riding. The Spaniard congratulated Fujinami's second place, too. Fujinami was confused. Then, the team boss came back with the official results, which showed Repsol's 1-2 finish with Fujinami's name at the second place. Fujinami finally realized that he would be standing at the higher side of the podium. Everybody at the Repsol Honda Montesa's pit was happy with the accomplishment for being 1-2 finishes as well as having Montesa's rookie, the Spaniard, Busto finishing strong sixth for both days. The day turned out great for Honda, Montesa and the riders themselves. Fujinami could not wish for more.

At the moment, Fujinami's knee has not recovered to the ideal condition yet. Fujinami told us that the area he felt pain after the competition was not where he had an operation at, but the part of his knee relentlessly used for years of his competition. It is Fujinami's 20th year in the world championship, and he will be pushing hard to fight for the victory again.

Quote from Fujigas:

I am very happy for myself and for my team to achieve 1-2 finishes with Toni. As always, I enjoyed all the support from my fans and they pushed me to get going and to be strong. I am also happy to be fourth on Saturday, but I have to say I was disappointed for being too far away from the top three. I struggled to get going at the early stage of Day2, but somehow I found my rhythm from Lap2. I continued and I could perform the way I wanted at Lap3, to be in the battle at the top. If I can keep doing the way I did on Sunday, I am sure I will have a strong season. I have to tell you, honestly speaking, I did not know before the race that if I could be competitive, but all the support from my fans in Japan surely helped me. We are moving back to Europe for the rounds to come, and I am sure I will try very hard for it.

2015 Trial World Championship
Round1-2 Twin Ring Motegi, Japan
1 Toni Bou Spain Montesa 17 28
2 Jeroni Fajardo Spain Beta 26 24
3 Adam Raga Spain Gas Gas 30 24
4 Takahisa Fujinami Japan Montesa 61 16
5 Albert Cabestany Spain Sherco 67 21
6 Jaime Busto Spain Montesa 92 14
7 Jorge Casales Spain Beta 95 13
8 Kenichi Kuroyama Japan Yamaha 96 9
9 Tomoyuki Ogawa Japan Honda 97 12
10 Alexandre Ferrer France Sherco 98 12
1 Toni Bou Spain Montesa 34 24
2 Takahisa Fujinami Japan Montesa 51 20
3 Jeroni Fajardo Spain Beta 53 20
4 Adam Raga Spain Gas Gas 59 18
5 Albert Cabestany Spain Sherco 61 17
6 Jaime Busto Spain Montesa 83 15
7 Tomoyuki Ogawa Japan Honda 86 13
8 James Dabill UK Vertigo 87 15
9 Alexandre Ferrer France Sherco 98 12
10 Kenichi Kuroyama Japan Yamaha 97 11
1 Toni Bou Spain Honda 40
2 Jeroni Fajardo Spain Beta 32
3 Takahisa Fujinami Japan Montesa 30
4 Adam Raga Spain Gas Gas 28
5 Albert Cabestany Spain Sherco 22
6 Jaime Busto Spain Montesa 20
7 Tomoyuki Ogawa Japan Honda 16
8 Kenichi Kuroyama Japan Yamaha 14
9 Alexandre Ferrer France Sherco 13
10 James Dabill UK Beta 11