Toni Bou – Repsol Montesa HRC riding his factory Cota 4RT sent out a strong message to his rivals as he significantly stretched his advantage at the top of the general standings as he gained his second double victory in as many weeks. Bou was once again unstoppable, this time at round three of the 2012 FIM Trial World Champonship held at Motegi, Japan. His win over Jeroni Fajardo - Beta on day one was convincing, whilst he had to hold off a determined Albert Cabestany - Sherco on the second day. Takahisa Fujinami - Repsol Montesa HRC completed a strong weekend for the Spanish based team, as he took the final podium place on Sunday after having finished fifth the day prior.
In contrast to Bou, Adam Raga - Gas Gas endured a nightmare weekend, placing sixth and fifth respectively over the two days of competition.
Raga arrived in Japan as Bou’s closest
challenger, but saw himself slip from second to fourth in the title race as a result of his two poor outings. After another faultless display by Bou has seen him increase his championship lead from 16 to 29 points, with Fajardo and Cabestany now locked in second place on 88 points apiece.
Fujinami on his Cota 4RT remains fifth in the general standings, but now only two points behind the off form Raga as the series heads back to Europe later this month.
It was the thirteenth consecutive time that the series had visited the World famous motorsports facility owned by Honda, with the first FIM Trial GP having been staged at Motegi back in 2000.
More well known for its high speed action out on the two interlinked tarmac circuits that give its Twin Ring name, the venue has become an important stop on the FIM Trial World Championship tour.
Fantastic facilities, faultless organisation, passionate fans and an ever evolving set of sections situated around the grounds of the circuit means that this round remains a favourite amongst the riders and teams even a decade or so after their initial visit.
Saturday’s trial was run in unusually dry conditions, with the sections riding perhaps easier than expected as the predicted rain failed to materialise. Such circumstances can sometimes allow his rivals to exploit any rare mistake, although Bou aboard his factory four stroke machine was in no mood to provide his challengers with such an opportunity and signalled his intent with a single dab opening lap to immediately move clear of the field. Even an uncharacteristic five on section ten on his closing lap could not spoil Bou’s day as he came home 13 marks clear of a rejuvenated Fajardo. Cabestany completed the Saturday’s podium line up with two consistent lap scores and did enough to hold off a spirited comeback by Fujinami, who produced a much better second lap performance. James Dabill - Beta rounded out the top five, as the British rider enjoyed his best finish of the season to date.
Conditions for Sunday’s competition remained very much as the day before, as once again the forecast of rain proved to be incorrect. The organisers reacted to the lack of precipitation by modifying three of the sections in order to raise the severity of these zones. Bou established an early lead as he had done 24 hours before, however this time he had Cabestany for company who was only three marks adrift of the reigning champion come the mid-point on Sunday.
Bou put himself under real pressure when he failed at section five on the second lap and really had to hold his nerve as Cabestany produced the better closing performance. Bou’s winning margin was reduced to just two marks on this occasion, though it was still sufficient for him to record his second double win of the campaign and to stretch his winning run to five counting days on a weekend when he saw Raga’s challenge falter.
The championship will now take a one week break before reassembling in Spain, as the series moves back to its more traditional European schedule over the summer months after the recent trips to Australia and Japan.
Toni Bou (Repsol Montesa): “This weekend is very important for many reasons. Important because I have a special feeling with the Japanese fans, they show me incredible support as a Honda rider and also for the World titles I have already. So I am very happy with my results this weekend as I want to win very much for my fans here. Also it is an important moment for the championship as now I have a good advantage with the points. Saturday’s victory was more easy, as today I had a lot of pressure from Cabestany and Fujinami who were also riding very well. I knew going to the last section if I made five points I would be third, it was that close. In the end I made zero and took the victory, so it was a special feeling.”
Takahisa Fujinami (Repsol Montesa): “I am always happy to be on the podium as this is my goal. Yesterday that was not possible, but today it was better. Also today I was close to victory, with only five points different from first place to third place, the problem is that Toni is too strong at this moment. For me I am happy to arrive on the podium at my home GP as this is always a good feeling. It was important to be on the podium here in Japan as my boss was here too! I was thinking it could rain today, so I went fast in the second lap to take the advantage, but in the end the rain did not come. I was always trying for the victory, but third is still OK.”