Toni Bou takes victory over two days in Motegi TrialGP

Repsol Honda Team rider Toni Bou was once again victorious in Motegi, in a far easier trial than Day 1, maintaining a score equal to the other top riders and ensuring he held the double win at the close of the event. Takahisa Fujinami posted fifth and Jaime Busto was sixth, level on points.

Toni Bou
Toni Bou

Day 1 saw the first of the two-day Japanese TrialGP held at the Twin Ring Motegi circuit. Fifteen sections over two laps were to decide the occupancy of the top step of the rostrum. On this occasion there was no discussion – a dazzling Toni Bou dominated the proceedings throughout. His team-mate at Repsol Honda Team Takahisa Fujinami took 3rd place on the podium.

Toni Bou remains unbeaten so far this season since first clinching victory on January 7th in Sheffield, UK. The win today in Motegi brings his overall tally to ninety-one; a decisive triumph in below-par conditions after recent rain had left many sections mud-drenched and treacherous.

Toni Bou
Toni Bou

Bou, who started as the championship leader after a win in the season’s opening event, got lumbered with a tricky course after the bad weather of the previous day. Nevertheless, the Montesa Cota 4RT rider, like a fish in water, made short work of the sections, finishing with a scorecard that the adversaries were simply unable to match.

Dominating throughout, the champion gave a master class in how to ride in adverse conditions to once again make off with the top honours. Bou stretches his advantage at the top yet further to twelve points over the nearest second-place rival.

Toni Bou – Overall 1st

“I’m really happy with the way the start of the championship is going and with the way that I’m riding in particular. We have had two trials in the wet which are the type that I get on with best, but I’m starting to get used to it. The trial was very complicated and the victory is very important not just because the rivals have had different results, but also because it is the ‘home’ GP for Honda and all the top directors came down to see us. A perfect start and I hope that tomorrow the trial will be as selective; here it’s really easy to make a mistake but we will continue to try and obtain the victory.”

Toni Bou
Toni Bou

Local boy Takahisa Fujinami, with the home crowd firmly behind him, lived up to the occasion. After starting from seventh position with a chance to observe some of the top riders ahead, the Japanese rider dug deep and finished the event on the rostrum. This marks the 27th podium finish for the ex-champ on home soil.

Takahisa Fujinami

“This podium finish is really important to me. It’s not just one more podium, but a podium on home soil at Honda’s home as well. It’s the first podium of the season and I’ve achieved it in a really tough trial with each lap of the course different each time round. Plus there were a lot of contenders for the podium. I’m very happy with the third place. Tomorrow we will battle to finish on top again. It won’t be easy but we try our best as always.”

Takahisa Fujinami
Takahisa Fujinami

The first Repsol Honda Team member to take the start had been Jaime Busto, in a more complicated trial than had originally been expected. Busto was constantly in contention for a podium finish but picked up a few too many penalty marks in the latter stages and posted sixth overall.

The second and final day of the Japanese TrialGP takes place tomorrow – Sunday – and will feature Toni Bou starting last of the Repsol Honda Team riders in penultimate place at 10:01 and is due to finish at 15:23 after having the two laps with a twenty minute break in between.

With heavy hearts Toni Bou, Takahisa Fujinami and Jaime Busto, along with various other team members had signed a placard paying tribute to the former MotoGP champion Nicky Hayden, who lost his life in tragic circumstances earlier in the week.

TrialGP Motegi – Day 1 Top Ten
  1. BOU Toni
  2. DABILL James
  3. FUJINAMI Takahisa
  4. FAJARDO Jeroni
  5. RAGA Adam
  6. BUSTO Jaime
  7. CASALES Jorge
  8. CABESTANY Albert
  9. FARRE Arnau
  10. KADLEC Franz

Day 2

Another victory for Toni Bou in Japan as the champion continues the full house of victories in the 2017 season. The Repsol Honda Team ace commanded a trial that proved to be a walk in the park compared to yesterday’s rain-soaked affair. The skies had cleared and the mud had dried by the time the competitors went through.

Toni Bou
Toni Bou

As a consequence however, the difference between adversaries was drastically reduced. A series of errors tightened the fight for the championship leadership, which was not decided until the final fifteen sections of the course. This marks the sixteenth win for Bou in Motegi and allows the rider to stretch his advantage in the overall world championship standings to fifteen points over Adam Raga.

Toni Bou

“It couldn’t have been better this weekend. Despite suffering a lot today because the trial was extremely easy, there was a lot of pressure not to make mistakes that would have complicated the final result. But I was able to achieve it with a zero in the last zone and win the race. I’m happy to have been able to put up with the pressure and I want to thank the team for a great job this weekend. We will see how the next events go, but we have made a good start to the World Championship.”

Toni Bou
Toni Bou

Japanese Repsol Honda Team team-mate Takahisa Fujinami once again went in search of the podium, although a minor error was enough to stop the rider repeating the success of yesterday. Fujigas posted fifth on the day.

Jaime Busto pushed hard in the second lap after a less-than-brilliant first time round. Lap two brought a five in section three before the young Basque produced a string of good results to take him level on points with team-mate Takahisa Fujinami. In spite of the draw the rider had to settle for sixth place as he had done yesterday.

Next date for the World Trial Championship takes place on the 17th (qualifying) and 18th (race) June in Sant Julià de Lòria, Andorra. The weekend before Bou and Busto will be in action in the Spanish championship in Arnedillo.

Toni Bou on the podium at Motegi
Toni Bou on the podium at Motegi
TrialGP Motegi – Day 2 Top Ten
  1. BOU Toni
  2. RAGA Adam
  3. CABESTANY Albert
  4. FAJARDO Jeroni
  5. FUJINAMI Takahisa
  6. BUSTO Jaime
  7. DABILL James
  8. KADLEC Franz
  9. PRICE Jack
  10. KUROYAMA Kenichi
TrialGP Standings after Motegi (Top Ten)
  1. BOU Toni
  2. RAGA Adam
  3. FAJARDO Jeroni
  4. CABESTANY Albert
  5. FUJINAMI Takahisa
  6. DABILL James
  7. BUSTO Jaime
  8. CASALES Jorge
  9. KADLEC Franz
  10. GELABERT Miquel