Fresh from his podium placing in Geneva, thirty-two-year-old Takahisa Fujinami – Repsol Montesa will have mixed emotions as he returns to Marseille, France for the third round of the 2012 FIM X-Trial World Championship this coming Friday and Saturday.
In the same small and compact arena, which sits on the outskirts of the city, the highly popular Japanese rider suffered what initially looked like a potential career ending crash just twelve months ago. Thankfully whilst Fujinami had to retire from the Trial part way through the final with a neck injury, he was back in action only two weeks later with no lasting damage having been done.
The southern French port city has not been a good hunting ground for Takahisa in more recent years with him having also failed to make it through to the semi-final in 2010 and having narrowly missed out on a podium finish in 2009, when he placed fourth. In an attempt to forget the accident he had whilst racing his team-mate Toni Bou - Repsol Montesa in the dual lane section last year, and his previously bad form in Marseille, Fujinami will approach the event this coming weekend with a different attitude.
“For sure I have some bad memories for what happened in Marseille last year, but it changes nothing as I will go there thinking only positive things and with no fear. Before the crash I was riding well and was in the final, so it was not all bad.”
“Things will be different this year for sure, I have a good mentality and I am not thinking negative at all. I like the sections in Marseille they are very different from the Spanish sections and are better for me, as I have chance to be closer to the Spanish riders. In Marseille you always have some special sections with different materials which is good for me.”
“Now I am the oldest rider in the FIM X-Trial World Championship, but I still want to continue to be a part of the series in the future. Hopefully this season I will get some good results and show why I should still be a part of the show. In Strasbourg I was close to second place so I was happy with this, and then I finally made it onto the podium in Geneva.”
“I also want to continue with the X-Trial as it is important as part of my preparations for the outdoor championship. It is good to be riding against the best riders during these events so you can check your level before the outdoor events.”
“You know I really enjoy X-Trial as it is a great show for the public and I always try to do my best to give them something extra, and I think my fans like it when I do this.”
Takahisa’s welcomed third place in Geneva last weekend was the first time he has visited the podium during an indoor / X-Trial campaign since February 2009, when he finished behind Bou and Raga respectively in Bolzano, Italy. The veteran protagonist will be hoping he can repeat this kind of performance in Marseille.