Weather: Saturday Bright sunshine - Sunday Bright sunshine
Temperature: 25 degrees C - Sunday 25 degrees C
Attendance: 17 000

Fujinami and Cabestany share the victories in Motegi

Takahisa Fujinami - Repsol Montesa HRC and Albert Cabestany - Sherco shared one victory and one third place each over the two day Grand Prix of Japan held at the Motegi Twin Ring Circuit, although it was the Spanish rider who enjoyed the better weekend as he moved to the head of the championship. Adam Raga - Gas Gas lost his advantage in the overall standings after only managing two fourth places. The Repsol Montesa HRC team's success was not limited to just their Japanese rider, as both Marc Freixa and Dougie Lampkin also both made it on to the podium with 2 - 7 and 5 - 2 results respectively over Saturday and Sunday.

After the opening two opening rounds the FIM Trial World championship, the series stepped outside of Europe for the third trial of this edition of the tour, to the famous Twin Ring Circuit of Motegi, Japan. Since the first round here back in 2000, this Honda owned venue has very much set new standards for the World trials series with its excellent permanent facilities and great surrounding trials terrain. However slightly suppressing the overriding level of organisation has been the heavy rain that everyone has had to endure on four out five of the previous visits, as the country traditionally enters its rainy season during this period of the year.

2005 marked a new version of the Japanese Trial Grand Prix with hot and dry weather delivering equally dry and dusty sections in replacement for the more usual wet and muddy conditions that have become the trade mark of this particular round. As well as new weather conditions the riders were greeted with a course where the majority of the hazards were new and much different from what they have experienced before. With five out of the fifteen sections now being of an indoor nature, the general opinion was this was not necessary in a location that has so much natural scope to offer. The remaining hazards set on the outside of the tarmac circuit had a similar theme, with steep and dry bankings being very much the order of the day.

The top runners and expected victory challengers passed through the first three man made section without loss, with the exception of Albert Cabestany who parted with his first mark in the more tricky section three. The trial proper started at section four, which was an adaptation of a similar section used before set high on a steep rocky face with the oval circuit as a fitting backdrop. The exit of this hazard caused all the problems, the almost vertical series of small steps was very difficult to conquer as the riders turned at it from a narrow ledge with absolutely no run up.

Eventual runner Marc Freixa suffered his first failure of the day here as the observer deemed that his front wheel had passed above and wide of the critical marker on the final summit. Aware of the consequences of going for gold, Dougie Lampkin played it same with a precautionary dab after having watched Adam Raga escape with a two through trying a more radical line. Takahisa Fujinami delighted the thousands of home fans watching from the road below, as he produced a typically full blooded clean, which Albert Cabestany was to repeat immediately behind the Japanese reigning World champion.

Sitting on the same steep rock face, but this time a few metres further across the hillside, section five was equally as difficult as its earlier neighbour, with a very loose vertical entry climb followed by a huge undercut step at the exit. Freixa and Fujinami swapped roles here as the Spanish rider rode neatly to the end cards for just a single mark, whilst the home hero failed within the first few metres. Raga and Cabestany both escaped with scrappy threes, leaving Lampkin to show them how it was done of this occasion with a steam rolling clean.

The action shifted back to the indoor type sections for the sixth hazard, the massive boulders benefiting from the shade of the nearby trees as the temperatures began to rise due the clear skies and the sun directly overhead. This section proved to be much of a disappointment despite its spectacular initial step, as the under cut step towards the middle of the hazard proved almost impossible with Lampkin being the only rider to score less than a five as he used his large frame to lift himself clear for a very physical three. This gave the British rider the lead as the trial now moved to the steep wooded area where the remaining sections could be found, with the exception of the final artificial zone back in pit lane.

The closing hazards were not difficult, but the loose soil and sheer steepness of the terrain caught even the front runners out at various points as the lead swapped several times as each rider committed at least one error on their way to the end of the first lap. Lampkin found himself back in joint fourth with his team mate Fujinami at the halfway point with both riding well below par. Raga revealed himself as the earlier leader with a score of ten marks, just one mark ahead of Cabestany and Kenichi Kuroyama - Beta.

Lap two saw an ever changing leader board, as the large tv screen back in pit area struggled to monitor the progress of the leading bunch of riders, as each took their turn at dispelling their chance of victory by failing in one section or another as they moved through the all important fourth, fifth and sixth hazards. Fujinami riding at the back of the field saw what was happening ahead of him, and decided that despite his relatively poor first lap, that the victory could be his if he could mount a late attack.

His attack was both clinical and awesome and he posted an unequalled series of cleans to complete his second tour for an seemingly impossible total of just four marks, this closing performance was enough to earn the reigning champion his first victory of the 2005 season, and a special one in front of his home fans. Behind him things were very close as just five marks covered second to seventh positions. Freixa posted the second best final lap score to take the runners up spot just ahead of Cabestany, whilst Raga demoted Lampkin to fifth after winning the most cleans tie decider.

Fujinami - 1st : "Riding at home brings some advantages, but also it brings a lot of pressure and I was certainly feeling that on the first lap. At this point I thought it was going to be like the first two trials in Europe, but I really tried to focus hard on the second lap as I knew my rivals were all making mistakes. This gave me a new confidence, which was increased by the support of my fans, I really rode at my best in the afternoon and I think from my second lap score that I deserved the victory. It is an important victory both for me and the team, and one I hope to repeat tomorrow and throughout the rest of the season."

Freixa - 2nd : "This is a great result for me and for Repsol Montesa HRC, as each week we are becoming stronger. I liked the trial as the sections were quite similar to Spain, although I made some mistakes during the early part of the trial. Despite these mistakes by team told me that I could still be near to the top position, so I worked very hard during the second lap and it seems that I got a good reward for my efforts. I hope I can be in an even better position tomorrow, but again that will not be without hard work as all the riders will be on a higher level as is usual on the second day of the competition. "

Cabestany - 3rd : "In some ways I am happy, as usually my results in Japan are not good, but usually the conditions are very different from today. But in a different way I can not be happy as I had the chance to win, but at the end finished third. For the championship it is a good result as I finished ahead of Raga and became closer to him in the overall standings. I hope that they will change some sections, as today the trial was decided in just three of them, which means that you need some luck to take a good result."

Lampkin - 5th : "This is a really disappointing result, especially after I started quite well. I knew it was going to be quite a low scoring trial, so I knew it was important not to make any silly mistakes. This seemed to help me focus in the early sections, however as the first lap wore on I had a couple of bad rides that pushed me from first to fourth as quick as that.I was very tense going into the second lap, as I was aware of just how close it was between all the leading riders. I thought I was back on course when I cleaned section four, but immediately afterwards I then fived both section five and six. That was basically day over, thankfully I finished quite well to at least hold on to fifth place as I could have quite easily ended up as low as seventh."

Laia Sanz - Repsol Montesa HRC claimed fourth position in the Junior class. " I found the trial quite difficult, although the sections should have really suited me better. My aim is always is to finish on the podium and today I have not been close to achieving that. Again I will be looking to finish in the top three tomorrow, but I know my performance will need to be much better."

The rain that had been promised overnight never arrived, and for the second day in a row the weather was both hot and dry. The official notification posted in the paddock showed that five sections had been modified since yesterday, all in order to increase the severity. In reality these changes were no more than a few strategic flags being moved, which actually did little to make the sections more difficult especially as the riders were now familiar with the terrain.

The first lap was a nervous affair as the expected added severity failed to materialise, leaving the favourites of section four, five and six as the key hazards once again. Even these sections failed to phase Raga who handed in his first lap punch card to reveal a full string of cleans. His total of zero whilst amazing was only two clear of Cabestany who had lost his marks as late as section ten, as he pushed his way out of the final hill climb. Bou found himself in third place on three marks after the first fifteen sections, his advantage over Lampkin at this point again being just a single mark. Yesterday's leading pairing of Fujinami and Freixa were down in fifth and sixth place, having not done much wrong in this very low scoring trial.

Further few marks were lost during the closing lap, as the leading riders despite being under great pressure still managed to complete the majority of the sections without any real level of penalisation. Raga suffered the most during this period adding two more marks to his second lap score after taking a five at section five, his total of seven took him from first to fourth position, which was cruel after his faultless first tour. Bou also slid down the order despite only adding six marks to his tally, his fifth place on a nine mark total showed the high level of the other riders and the lack of severity the event had had to offer. Fujinami completed only the second clean lap of the day, but this was only enough to secure him third place behind a rejuvenated Lampkin. Cabestany kept his cool brilliantly, riding at the back of the field he did what was necessary to come home one mark in the clear, to give him the victory and a clear lead in the championship.

Cabestany - 1st : "Yesterday I was happy, so today I am very happy not just to have won the trial, but also to have taken a clear advantage over Raga in the championship to become the new leader. The victory is more satisfying because I had to ride with a lot of pressure, as I knew exactly what the other riders scores were before I rode each section. There was no room even for one mistake as the trial was far too easy. I am now very confident going to the other rounds."

Lampkin - 2nd : "Second is a good result after yesterday, but again it has been very close between all of the riders. My mistake in section three this morning has cost me the victory, but it seems incredible to think I have only lost marks in five sections at a World championship trial. The competitions need to be tougher if we are to find a real World champion, I think all the top riders would agree with this. Hopefully the coming rounds will give us all a better possibility to fight for the title in a way we would all prefer. Right now there are four or five riders that can be champion and I think it is going to stay that way for most of the season."

Fujinami - 3rd : "Third place is not what I was hoping for, as I felt very strong this morning and I had a great motivation to repeat the victory as I had done yesterday. The five in section five on the first lap was the disaster I was hoping would not happen. Anyway at least I can be positive about cleaning the last lap. Overall it has been a good weekend and has put me back in the championship race."

Freixa - 7th : "Compared to yesterday, this is a bad result, but I don't think that I rode that bad. I had two fives on the first lap and just one on the second, but this is far too many when you look at the scores of the other riders. This is the problem when the trial is this easy, there is no way you can rescue your position and that has been the case with me today. Now I must look to the USA to continue the improvement we had made at this round. "

Laia Sanz achieved her goal today by taking third place in the Junior class. "Today was so much better, but it is difficult for me to say why. I started much better and was able to remain strong throughout the competition, this is clear as my second lap score was the best of the two. As I said before, my aim is to be on the podium in every round, so day it is good to achieve that point."



1. Takahisa Fujinami (J-Honda), 18 ;
2. Marc Freixa (E-Montesa), 24 ;
3. Albert Cabestany (E-Sherco), 25 ;
4. Adam Raga (E-Gas Gas), 26 (23x0) ;
5. Doug Lampkin (GB-Montesa), 26 (19x0) ;
6. Kenichi Kuroyama (J-Beta), 28 ;
7. Antonio Bou (E-Beta), 29 ;
8. Graham Jarvis (GB-Sherco), 43 ;
9. Taichi Tanaka (J-Gas Gas), 49 ;
10. Jordi Pascuet (E-Gas Gas), 55 ;
11. Fumitaka Nozaki (J-Scorpa), 56 :
12. Jeroni Fajardo (E-Gas Gas), 59;
13. Tomoyuki Ogawa (J-Honda), 63 ;
14. Tadeusz Blazusiak (POL-Gas Gas), 64 ;
15. Isao Shibuya (J-Yamaha), 71


1. Albert Cabestany (E-Sherco), 4 ;
2. Doug Lampkin (GB-Montesa), 5 ;
3. Takahisa Fujinami (J-Honda), 7 (28x0) ;
4. Adam Raga (E-Gas Gas), 7 (27x0) ;
5. Antonio Bou (E-Beta), 9 ;
6. Kenichi Kuroyama (J-Beta), 19 ;
7. Marc Freixa (E-Montesa), 21 ;
8. Fumitaka Nozaki (J-Scorpa), 36 :
9. Graham Jarvis (GB-Sherco), 41 ;
10. Isao Shibuya (J-Yamaha), 45 (17x0) ;
11. Taichi Tanaka (J-Gas Gas), 45 (12x0);
12. Tomoyuki Ogawa (J-Honda), 46 ;
13. Jordi Pascuet (E-Gas Gas), 48 ;
14. Tadeusz Blazusiak (POL-Gas Gas), 63 ;
15. Sam Connor (GB-Sherco), 74

World Championship positions after 3 rounds;
1. Cabestany, 67 ; 2. Raga, 63 ; 3. Lampkin, 59 ; 4. Fujinami, 59 ; 5. Freixa, 51 ; 6. Bou, 43 ;
7. Kuroyama, 37 ; 8. Jarvis, 32 ; 9. Nozaki, 21 ; 10. Pascuet, 20 ; 11. Blazusiak, 15 ; 12. Tanaka, 12 ;
13. Fajardo, 11 ; 14. Connor, 9 ; 15. Shibuya, 7

Next event: 4th round at Duluth (USA) on 04 and 05 June

Source: Honda Motor Company, Ltd - Motor Sports Division

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