Twenty-four world championships! How is the Toni Bou that won his first title back in 2007 different from the professional we see today?
The truth is that many things have changed, most of all the experience I've gained over all these years. Now I'm more of an expert rider, and that's a really positive improvement. It's also true that I have to spend longer warming up before an obstacle now, especially this season with my injury. Maybe I've become less instinctive and think about things more when I'm riding.
Overall, we've had loads of really successful years and we're so proud of all we've achieved thanks to the Repsol Honda Team. These are good times, and we hope they're here to stay.
You always say that each World Championship is unique. What stood out for you this year?
Without a doubt the back injury I sustained at the end of the FIM X-Trial World Championship, which made for a difficult start to the Outdoor Trial World Championship. It complicated the pre-season as we couldn't do as much physical training as we would have liked, and we were a bit weaker and not very prepared for all of the races. It made us rethink our approach in the competition, but it also motivated me to give it my all and perform to the best of my ability on race day.
What role has the Honda Montesa played in your success?
It's increasingly important for the team to work more on the motorbike. Everyone's in it to win and everyone has taken a great leap forward in terms of the technology being used, meaning that the level just gets higher and higher. Thanks to our hard work, the motorbike has improved a lot over the past years, and this is what has helped us stay one step ahead.
What has Repsol's support meant in such a successful career as your own?
Without Repsol, I wouldn't have achieved anything near as much. Repsol Honda has provided incredible support and has helped us win all the competitions we've taken on together, which is no mean feat. I have a special relationship with the team and it's incredible how they dedicate all their resources to a sport that is much smaller than MotoGP. This dedication is contagious and whenever they push themselves to the limit, it's truly motivating.
Which race in 2018 has been your favourite?
I felt my best on the bike in Portugal. I finally forgot about my injury and could have a good time, and it was a rather spectacular race with large laps. It really helped me to get my confidence back and start driving like Toni Bou again.
Which is your favourite World Championship location for reasons not related to the race? (food, scenery, climate, etc.)
I've always liked Japan, and the race at Motegi is one of a kind as it's on Honda's home turf. I love visiting and competing in the country, and I've been there on holiday as well. Andorra is another one that I really like; it's a really beautiful area with spectacular mountains. I also like Italy and enjoy competing there.
In such a special and different year as 2018, what training routine have you followed?
My training has been a bit different this year because of my injury. It's been quite low-key and I'll need to step it up again before next year, most of all to rebuild my muscles. We're happy with the results overall, but we need to get back into a training routine next year that is intense as before the injury.
Over the years, we've seen you perform some amazing feats on your motorbike like climbing the terraces at Camp Nou or an taking an impressive ride through the snow. Are there any other exploits that you'd like to try out?
I was thinking about setting a new record for climbing up a historic building, but it's harder and harder to beat the existing records. So to make it more interesting and fun, I thought of taking off the front wheel and only using the back one, but at the moment it's just an idea.
Are you motivated for the 2019 season next year? Is there anything you want to change or improve?
This year was complicated because of my injury. The most important thing is to get back into shape and avoid more injuries so I can get back to doing what I love most: training and getting better day in, day out; finding motivation in my sessions and being a better rider.