“There is little that you can teach a 30-time World Champion”

5 minutes

In a new position as of this year, former rider Takahisa Fujinami is now working as Team Manager for Repsol Honda Team.

“There is little that you can teach a 30-time World Champion”

Satisfied with the start of the season, which has seen the team leading the X-Trial World Championship and with a Bou-Marcelli double in Madrid, he talks about 2020 to date.

Are you enjoying your new job?

“Yes! I am very happy to be in this new position of Team Manager!”

How have these four months in your new role been?

“I already knew how the team works, after twenty-five years here. We also know how the championship works, what training is like, what the riders think… All this is knowledge that we already had, but for me what is new is the organisation of the entire team and, especially, the logistics. It is necessary to establish contact with the federations, with the promoters of the championships, with the sponsors etc. All this is still new for me, but little by little we are adapting.”

What is your assessment of the first four X-Trial races?

“We already knew that Toni Bou would be very strong, but what we didn’t know was what his performance with the new bike, with a larger engine, would be like. I rode it last season, we have improved it during preseason and the results have been very good: Of the four races, Toni has won all of them and has only conceded one lap out of eight. We also knew that Gabriel was at the level to be up there, as he showed in Madrid. The first race saw him suffer from nerves, and in Barcelona he almost didn’t get into the second round. He still has a lot to learn. I will try to teach him as much as I can. At the moment, the performance from both riders in X-Trial has been very good.”

“With 26 years of experience in the World Championship, I think I can teach him how to focus mentally for the races”

As a former rider, is perhaps the advice you can give Gabriel Marcelli more important than to Toni Bou?

“What can you teach a 30-time world champion? Very little. Gabriel wants to improve to be a future world champion. With 26 years of experience in the World Championship, I think I can teach him how to focus mentally for the races. He has the technique, now he just needs to improve some aspects a little”.

You have used the new engine that Toni and Gabriel now have. Does the Montesa bike continue to evolve?

“The main thing is that we still have to compete against the two-strokes. They have some advantages over the four-strokes, and we have to continue evolving to be able to compete with a certain technical equality.”

What do you think about the changes to the X-Trial rulebook?

“What we don’t agree with is the selection of riders; I don’t think anybody understands it, because Gabriel Marcelli was left out of the first race after finishing second last year in Barcelona and fourth in the X-Trial series in 2021. The rest of the rules are more or less the same as last year.”

What do you expect from Marcelli in the Spanish Championship?

“Last year I accompanied him at the last two races to find out what the Spanish Championship was like, and Gabriel won one and was third in the other. The Spanish series is quite different from the Indoor and Outdoor World Championships. It has quite a mental factor too, as well as physical, with more zones and longer race time. We hope that this year he can fight to be Spanish champion, because he is good enough”.

What do you expect for the Outdoor season?

“Toni is going to defend his title. That’s clear. We hope that Gabriel can meet the goal of finishing in the top three, and if he can win a race, even better! A one-two would be fantastic!”

How do you see the 2022 TrialGP calendar?

“Almost all of the races on the calendar this year will be two-day events, which means that they will be very physical and riders will have to be in shape because, in addition, we will have two races during the month of August -when it is expected to be very hot. It will be a little different. Normally Japan would be on the calendar, but because of COVID we can’t go, and this year there was also a race in Spain missing. Finally we will start the World Championship in Spain, which we like a lot. We will have one or two races every month and that means that we will have to be very focused and physically prepared.”

What do you think about the absence of a Japanese GP? You were the main attraction for the fans to fill Motegi.

“It’s a shame that for the last three years we haven’t been able to race at Motegi. For me, having retired from competition without being able to race in front of my home fans is unfinished business. I hope I can do it as a manager, and I hope that the Japanese riders will continue to compete as well. We can’t forget that it is the home of Honda, and it is always an honor to be able to race there”.

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