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Interview to Toni Bou and Takahisa Fujinami

Museo Moto Basella
January 17th, 2019
EW_AUTOR_TEXTO H. San Martin, translation by Rosa Parriot

Interview to Toni Bou and Takahisa Fujinami

posted by 17 January 2019 By in Interviews Last modified on Thursday, 17 January 2019 03:13

At Todotrial we are very fortunate. Trials is our passion and recently we had a chance to spend a day with Toni Bou and Takahisa Fujinami, the factory riders for the Repsol Montesa Honda Team. Not only did we get to visit with them at the Exposition of the 50th Anniversary for the Montesa Cota, but we also got to enjoy a ride with them and witness one of their training sessions, followed with a lovely meal and a very interesting talk at the end of the day.

meseumoto-nota-premsa-78 Last Thursday January 10th, we had the pleasure to visit the wonderful exposition that commemorates the 50 years of the Montesa Cota at the Museum of the Moto in Basella. We were invited by Honda and from the hand of the project leaders, Miquel Cirera and Estanis Soler. It was a great morning where we had so much fun and we also learnt a lot about the vintage Montesa Trial's Bike, that soon we will have a full report ready to be published.

The day was not only about visiting the Museum, we also went for a Trial's Ride with the Cota 4RT and 4Ride, with the deluxe company of Toni Bou and Takahisa Fujinami and watch them do spectacular training challenges. After a nice meal together, they talked about some interesting facts...

- We all saw this morning the 50th Anniversary Cota Exposition. If you could ? How many bikes would you take home from the Museum?

seleccion-media periodistas - Toni Bou: Many, I will take many of them, in fact at home I have a lot of them, so it will be hard to choose one. As a special one I will take mine because Honda doesn't let go easy its "Pata Negra" (elite) bikes, (laugh).

- Takahisa Fujinami: As a "Pata Negra" (elite) bike, I only have at home my 2004 bike that I won the World Championship with, but I also have other four stroke bikes. I would love to have the 50th Anniversary 4RT.

- Riding for such a prestigious and history rich brand like Montesa, does it bring any special motivation?

- Toni: Of course it does, we all know how the trials world works and its limitations, so to be part of this team and to work for this brand with all the history it has, it opens a lot of doors, and also it helps you to participate in events like the one today, so it is an honor for us to ride for such a distinguish brand.

meseumoto-nota-premsa-46 meseumoto-nota-premsa-55

meseumoto-nota-premsa-59 - Fuji: I'm fortunate to have been competing with Honda since 1996. Montesa and it's factory team has always been #1 for me.

- Even that is not a Cota, today we also rode the Montesa 4Ride, what do you think?

- Toni: I like it, I do a lot of excursions in the summer in Andorra and it is a lot of fun. Well, that's how trial got started in the first place, by going out in the country. It is an easy bike to ride and it has a lot of the trials bike characteristics. The first time we saw it we thought it was not going to work as well as it does as a trials bike depending of who the rider is, specially for the beginners it could have been easier to ride than a Trial's Bike. You can make pressure with the knees, sit down and also it gives you many ways to feel good on it, since it is a very versatile motorcycle.

meseumoto-nota-premsa-60 - Fuji: If you compared the bike with the Cota there is differences on the weight, but if you compared it with an enduro bike it is very light and fun, as a matter fact I competed in few enduro races with it like the Enduroc, and it went very well, overall it is a very fun bike for the trials sections.

- Do you both think, your bikes are the best ones in the Championship?

- Toni: Well, I think It is the best bike, but lately the two stroke bikes are improving a lot in the last few years since it is easier for them, and they are getting closer to ours. I think we have the best bike because it is the most complete, although there are aspects where the other brands are better than ours and that's where we need to improve after many years, because the other brands are coming strong.

meseumoto-nota-premsa-131 meseumoto-nota-premsa-110

meseumoto-nota-premsa-108 - What is your disadvantage towards the 2 stroke?

- Toni: Our bike being a 4 stroke is a lot slower riding. The clutch in the trial's bike today is a very important part and because it is a little slow providing power to the engine it makes the modern trial more complicated, even so it is the most complete. It is a combination of faster clutch and engine, a 2 stroke clutch on a 4 stroke bike will not work, and that is what we are trying to improve, since to change a clutch on a 4t it is a lot harder.

- Do you see Montesa Honda coming back to 2T?

- Toni: No, no, Honda is sure of that.

- Is there a lot of difference in the settings between the training bike and the racing bike?

meseumoto-nota-premsa-68 - Toni: They are exactly the same. We each have two bikes and the setting changes only a little bit for each race but the motorcycle is always the same.

- Fuji: Yes, this motorcycle is the same one as the one I will race with in Budapest.

- So is there still room for the 4RT to improve?

- Toni: Of course, we were just in Japan testing things and we are still deciding which way to take. There is a lot of interest behind and excitement to do many things, but because it is a 4T it is more complicated and also we are still winning so it is more difficult to change things.

- Fuji: Well, it is different what Toni said from what I say. One is the World Champion and the other one is only fifth or sixth in the ranking... so they don't take me seriously (laugh). But about improving the bike we both want the same and we both like the same thing from the 2 stroke, so even that I'm not a World Champion, I'm japanese so somehow they will listen to me too (laugh).

seleccion-demo-Fuji--Toni- meseumoto-nota-premsa-57

seleccion-highlights-MM-8 - What are the advantages and disadvantages on your 4T engine compared with the 2T top bike right now?

- Toni: The 4T engine problems are giving us some advantages that we are not so sure why yet. An example, we could complain about the engine brake or torque that makes the clutch more difficult, but after all it has its good things, like really good low end torque which helps in situations where we get the final push to climb the obstacles, or how the bike never stalls in high gears. So the good things out weigh the bad ones.

- And what about the different surfaces?

- Toni: The bike has the best traction when it is in motion, but when you stop, restarting becomes harder and this can be a disadvantage.

seleccion-demo-Fuji--Toni-2 - What do you think about the electric trials bikes in competition?

- Toni: There is a long way to go, because it is not efficient enough to be at level of the competitions bikes. At the World round of the Trial-E we saw a few brands that they had to change their batteries up to three times per round. They are almost there at the power level, but they still need to accomplish many other matters.

- The new season 2019 is almost ready to start, what are your goals?

- Toni: Complicated, I think it is gonna be a very close championship. The sections are gonna be high level and the races are gonna be very similar, Jaime Busto feels more confident in his second year with Gas Gas so I'm sure he will perform better than last year. Adam Raga is recovering from his injury, Jeroni Fajardo will be more confident, so I think it is going to be a challenging year to win races.

seleccion-demo-Fuji--Toni-7 meseumoto-nota-premsa-73

seleccion-demo-Fuji--Toni-21 - Fuji: If the sections are harder, Toni will make a gap in the points, but if the sections are easier there is a chance where even Fuji can win (laugh).

- The FIM wants to make it possible for everyone to have a chance to beat Toni.

- Toni: Yes, if the FIM goal is to make the sections easier so there is more equal chances of winning, I understand, totally normal, it has been 12 years in a row of me winning and they need a change.

- There is going to be a mandate to wear safety equipment, back and chest protectors, and it looks like for you, Toni, don't like them very much...

- Toni: Well, I don't agree with it, but whoever wants to wear them should. We have been riding without protection all our life. I wear a knee protection now and before I never did, I broke my kneecap with a slight bump so since then I decided to wear them for my protection, but there is a lot of things, elbows, chest, back, knees... that it depends of each rider and I think it should be optional. But well, it is a new rule and we have to wear it, so we will.

- Thank you to both. Good luck and enjoy the 2019!

meseumoto-nota-premsa-134 meseumoto-nota-premsa-103

From Todotrial we can not stop recommending you the visit to the 50 Years Cota Exhibition that you will find in the Basella Motorcycle Museum in Spain. You will find more details here:

 New 50 years of Montesa Cota Exhibition at Basella Motorcycle Museum

 50 of Cota and Montesa Cota 50 Anniversary presentation

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    Todotrial Reports Interviews Interview to Toni Bou and Takahisa Fujinami