Fujinami: “Marc Márquez is a fearless rider”

5 minutes

Takahisa Fujinami, a former Trial World Champion and current Repsol Honda Team rider, is a big fan of the MotoGP World Championship.

Takahisa Fujinami en el podio
Fujinami: “Marc Márquez is a fearless rider”

At 38, Takahisa Fujinami continues to compete at the highest level in the Trial World Championship, both on the indoor and outdoor stage. Despite his packed schedule, the Repsol Honda Trial team rider follows the MotoGP World Championship, Marc Márquez and Dani Pedrosa closely. In the following interview he talks about this, as well as the similarities between Marc Márquez and his own teammate, Toni Bou.

We have seen on your social media that you are a big MotoGP fan. How long have you followed it? Who are your favourite riders?

It’s been a long time. Since the 1990s, coinciding with the period in which Álex Crivillé raced. One of my favourite riders has always been Dani Pedrosa, although I also like Marc Márquez a lot.

As a Repsol Honda Team rider, we have seen you spending time with Marc Márquez and Dani Pedrosa on several occasions. What would you highlight about them?

Marc Márquez is a fearless rider with a huge desire to win. Dani Pedrosa had to work hard on his fitness due to his small stature. That forced him to look at the competition in a different way to other riders and, for that reason, I think that he has had a difficult task to face throughout his entire career.

Did you manage to stay sitting down on the sofa during the last lap of the Thai GP?

No way! On the last three laps of the race, when Marc Márquez tried to overtake Andrea Dovizioso, I was very nervous. I couldn’t sit down during such an exciting race!

We saw Dani Pedrosa near the top positions again. What can we expect from him in the four remaining races?

Hopefully Dani will get a podium in the remaining four races before retiring at the end of this year. It was a shame about his crash in the Thai Grand Prix, because he was in a very good position. In recent years he has enjoyed good results in Japan, but I am sure he will get on the podium at Valencia.

Although you live in Spain, the next MotoGP event is in your ‘first’ home: Japan. With Dovizioso’s form, Lorenzo’s injury, Rossi and Viñales, the comeback from Dani and Marc’s lead, what can we expect to see at Motegi?

The next race at Twin Ring Motegi will be very fun, as Marc will be going for the title. Andrea Dovizioso and Jorge Lorenzo will be very fast because the Ducati is going very well this year. Marc already won the title in Japan two seasons ago and in 2014, so this year we are sure to enjoy a great show.

Marc márquez, Takahisa Fujinami y Dani Pedrosa con niños en un aula
Marc márquez, Takahisa Fujinami y Dani Pedrosa con niños en un aula

At 38 years of age, you are still competing at a high level in the World Championship. What is your secret?

“There is no secret; the most important thing is to always have the same desire. It’s been 23 years since my first World Championship race; I have learned a lot during all these years and I continue doing so every day. I have also looked at Toni Bou and his technique.

For example, I don’t have to be so stubborn because, if I want to continue learning, I have to be a little more flexible. For me, that’s the key to continuing to compete at a high level in the World Championship at 38 years of age.”

Do you think Marc will still be able to compete at your age?

“Yes, because there are other riders in the MotoGP World Championship, older than me, who continue to get good results. So I’m sure that Marc will be able to continue competing when he turns 38.”

Your teammate is another extraordinary rider. What is it like to share a team with a World Champion like Toni?

“Toni Bou joined the Repsol Honda Team in 2007. At that time, we had some problems with the four-stroke engines. It was difficult for me to climb obstacles and, despite this, Toni came along and easily got through all the zones. His incorporation to the team meant the arrival of a young rider, with a different riding style, who changed our entire system.

At first we weren’t used to his way of riding but he became champion the first year, the second, the third… He is like the king of Trial. I have a good relationship with him, both professionally and personally, so I hope he thinks the same of me.”

What similarities do you see between Toni and Marc, the two dominant forces in their respective World Championships in recent years?

Marc and Toni have many things in common, since it’s one thing to become a World Champion once and another to keep working hard to retain the title, year after year. The two are real fighters and great workers. Neither of them gets tired of winning; at the start of the year they reset their minds and go for the title as if they’d never won one before.

They also share some technical points: For example, if the bike goes well at 80%, they provide the remaining 20%. If the setup or the tyres aren’t perfect, then Marc compensates for that with his talent. They ride in different disciplines but they share many things in common.

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