The next round of the TrialGP World Championship will be held this weekend in the French location of Auron in the midst of the Alps. The Repsol Honda team duo, unbeaten Toni Bou and brother-in-arms Takahisa Fujinami, arrive confident they can achieve a good result from the highly-demanding trial.

The altitude of the Auron ski resort will present a new challenge for Repsol Honda Team. The TrialGP campaign this weekend stops off in the tiny Alpine village which will host the event some 1,600 metres above sea-level, which will test the strength and performance of both riders and bikes in this, the sixth round of the world championship.

Toni Bou, clear leader in the championship standings and undefeated after five wins on the spin in the GPs held so far in 2019, will also get his first shot at sealing the overall world title – the thirteenth in TrialGP and the twenty-sixth career title in the elite class. The Spaniard sits in a privileged position at the head of the leader board with a 22-point cushion over arch-rival Adam Raga. Finishing ahead of his fellow-Spaniard in France will be enough to mathematically guarantee the 2019 championship.

Bou’s Japanese partner Takahisa Fujinami, currently lying in fourth position in the championship, will once again go in search of a position that could potentially keep him in the running for an overall podium at the end of the season.

The French TrialGP gets underway on Saturday with the technical and administrative shakedown at 08:00 CET with the qualifying section starting at 15:30. On Sunday the main event is scheduled to begin at 10:00 with the final podium due to take place at 16:45.

Toni Bou

POSITION: 1ST  POINTS: 120

We are having a great championship and we are confident that it could continue this weekend in France too. We are going to try to find the right rapport with the bike in Auron, where altitude can influence things a lot. We will also try to arrive there after having physically recovered, so that we will be at our best. We know we can win the championship, sure, but the first thing we want to do is have a good trial and make sure nothing strange happens, then we’ll be able to go away and have a good vacation.

Takahisa Fujinami

POSITION: 4TH  POINTS: 77

Physically I feel very well and I think that technically I am also better this year. We have not been able to rest much between Portugal and France because we want to prepare for the Auron trial as best we could as it will be a complicated one. In the championship, if I want to improve my position, I will have to fight a lot. Now I am fourth, but there are always options to gain a position… or also to lose one. I will fight to get the best possible result.

Rider Standings

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team
1 BOU Toni 1 SPA 120 Repsol Honda Team
2 RAGA Adam 67 SPA 98 TRRS Factory Team
3 FAJARDO Jeroni 2 SPA 82 Gas Gas
4 FUJINAMI Takahisa 6 JPN 77 Repsol Honda Team
5 DABILL James 22 GBR 60 Beta Factory Racing
6 BUSTO Jaime 69 SPA 60 Vertigo Factory Team
7 CASALES Jorge 33 SPA 55 Vertigo Factory Team
8 KADLEC Franz 66 GER 47 TRRS Factory Team
9 BINCAZ Benoit 73 FRA 46 Beta Factory Racing
10 GELABERT Miquel 9 SPA 41 Sherco Factory Team
11 PRICE Jack 34 GBR 31 Gas Gas
12 FARRE Arnau 19 SPA 17 Team Jotagas
13 PEACE Dan 38 GBR 17 Sherco Factory Team
14 NOGUERA Oriol 13 SPA 10 Team Jotagas
15 KUROYAMA Kenichi 98 JPN 7 Yamaha Racing
16 RIVA  Andrea 96 ITA 6 TRRS Factory Team
17 NOZAKI Fumitaka 99 JPN 3 Yamaha Racing
18 OGAWA Tomoyuki 97 JPN 3 Honda

Photos: Honda Racing Corporation

The 10th and final stage of the Silk Way Rally proved to be one of the toughest of the event. Winding its way along fast rocky tracks and through the ravines and dry river beds of the Gobi Desert, the 255-kilometre timed special required 100 percent focus right to the finish.

Sam Sunderland, having ridden superbly in terms of speed and navigation through Russia and Mongolia, created a comfortable advantage at the head of the overall motorcycle class when the rally entered China. Using his extensive skill and experience, he put in a champion’s ride to maintain a fast and largely mistake-free pace and carried his lead to the final stage of the event, finally claiming outright victory.

With no fewer than three stage wins – one having opened stage five – Sam’s dominant performance at the Silk Way Rally gives him his second consecutive victory in this year’s FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship to extend his lead with two rounds left to race.

Sam Sunderland #6

“It’s really cool to take the win here in China. I’m really happy with the job done by myself and the team – it wouldn’t have been possible without this big effort from everyone to come to Russia, Mongolia and now China. It’s been a huge adventure and one that we’ll all remember for a long time, that’s for sure. For me I’m so happy to get the win, it makes it two-out-of-two this championship and it’s a really important one because of the points earned this round. I felt really good at the beginning of the event and was able to create a good gap. I felt a bit sick during the middle stages but was able to manage the race and stay on a good pace right to the end. I’m really pleased for Andrew, who has ridden a great race, and also Luciano and Laia. Now I’m looking forward to a bit of rest.”

Putting in an impressive performance throughout the event, Luciano Benavides placed eighth on the final stage to claim fifth place overall and top the Junior class. Continuing to learn and gain experience, the young Argentinian rode a mature race, often bouncing back from small navigation errors to complete each stage consistently and secure his solid top-five result. With two rounds of this year’s FIM championship remaining, Benavides’ goal is to increase his rally knowledge and overall speed.

Luciano Benavides 

“For me, it has been a really good rally – I finished fifth overall and won the Junior category. It’s been a tough rally, but I have certainly learned a lot. I made a few mistakes in the last few days that ended up costing me some time, but I know what I did wrong and I need to go away now and work on those areas. Overall, I am happy with how I rode and the bike has been perfect. My confidence is growing all the time and each rally we do I learn a little bit more and gain a lot of experience. Finally, I want to thank the team – to be in this KTM family is an amazing feeling and everyone did a great job.”

KTM Factory Racing’s Laia Sanz rode to a safe 13th place on stage 10 in order to minimise any possible mistakes and safeguard her position in the overall standings. The Dakar Women’s Champion marked her first competitive outing in this year’s FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship with an excellent seventh place overall – beating many of the championship regulars in the process. Laia’s impressive speed and consistent, error-free finishes paid off, especially at an event as tough and demanding as the Silk Way Rally. Sanz will now take some rest before continuing her Dakar preparation at the next race in Chile.

Laia Sanz

“I took it easy today as I wanted to stay safe and keep my position in the standings. Overall, it has been a good rally for me, these last days have been tough and certainly very tiring as well as being technical. I’m happy to be at the end safely and I’m very happy with my result. The organisation of the rally has been really good and I’m so happy that I came. I had some really good days in Mongolia but here in China I struggled a bit more. Now, after some rest, I will continue to train and focus as always on the Dakar Rally next year.”

Rider Standings – Final

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Time/Gap
1 SUNDERLAND Sam GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team 26:12’47
2 SHORT Andrew USA Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing +20’22
3 VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team +21’01
4 BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team +21’37
5 BENAVIDES Luciano ARG KTM Factory Racing Team +36’50
6 MENA Oriol SPA Hero Motorsports Team Rally +51’50
7 SANZ Laia SPA Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +1:56’26
8 TOMICZEK Adam POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +2:08’04
9 BARREDA Joan SPA Monster Energy Honda Team +2:54’25
10 GIEMZA Maciej POL KTM Orlen Rally Team +3:10’31
11 CORNEJO José Ignacio CHI Monster Energy Honda Team +4:06’10

Photos: KTM Press Center

At the 12th round of the 2019 MXGP championship, Team HRC’s Tim Gajser won his seventh overall in a row, setting an all-time record for Honda riders in world championship motocross. While other riders struggled with the heat and tricky track surface at the Semarang facility in central Java, Indonesia, Gajser took one holeshot and led every lap of both races to cruise to his eighth overall of the season, extending his lead at the top of the MXGP championship to 173 points.

With news breaking on Monday that his nearest championship rival would be missing the rest of the season, Gajser knew that he had to remain focused and ride smart in order to keep his momentum going, and that’s exactly what he was able to do when the gate dropped in both motos. A holeshot in race one made things relatively straight-forward for the #243 Honda CRF450RW rider, as he gradually opened up a gap at the front of the field before cruising to the chequered flag. He came very close to another holeshot in race two but rounded the first bend in third position. He then made a couple of passes on the first lap and once again set about breaking clear for would be his sixth maximum points haul of this amazing season. With just six rounds remaining, he knows he can’t take his hand off the throttle just yet, so his aim is to keep heading into each GP to have fun, starting with the next round in the Czech Republic.

Unfortunately, it wasn’t such a positive day for teammate Brian Bogers as the Dutch rider went 11-13 for 12th overall. He never managed to find a good rhythm in either moto and wasn’t able to make the impact he wanted, as he looked to challenge again for a top 10 position. Bogers will hope to find his form again in the Dutch championship next weekend, before getting back to world championship motocross at Loket the following week on July 27-28.

Tim Gajser  243

I was having fun on both days this weekend. Unfortunately yesterday I had a crash in timed practice and I hurt my right ankle a little bit, but other than a bit of pain yesterday, it was certainly a great weekend again. In the first moto I had a great start, taking the holeshot and leading the whole race. In the second one, I started third and made quick pass, and then made another one a bit later in lap one before making a gap to control the race. I was really having fun out there although the track was a little slippery in some places, but I still got two moto wins so I can’t complain! I’m trying not to put pressure on myself on each weekend and I know if I can have fun, I can ride really fast and that seems to be working right now. It is also an honour to have the biggest win-streak for a Honda rider in world motocross, a lot of really talented riders have ridden on this great brand and it is amazing to have achieved this. I hope I can keep it going for as long as possible, and I must also thank Team HRC for helping me out so much and giving me all the support I need in order to do this.

Brian Bogers  189

Today wasn’t a good day for me and I feel really bad to have to say that. I didn’t travel all the way to Indonesia to ride like this and I am really, really disappointed with how I performed. I need to push the reset button for the next races and I hope to do better in the Dutch championship next weekend, which can then give me a boost for the next MXGP round. I want to say sorry to the team because they work so hard for me and they don’t deserve a performance like this. It definitely isn’t what we want.
I do feel like I can ride better though and that’s what I’m going to be aiming to do for the rest of the season, and just try to forget about this round.

Marcus Pereira de Freitas

HRC General Manager – MXGP

The way Tim is riding right now is just amazing to watch. He made a tricky track look easy and he didn’t really seem to be pushing too much in either moto. His confidence is sky high right now and he fully deserved his seventh victory in a row. This win also means it is his most successful with the team, having now achieved eight this season, one more than when he won the title in 2016, so we are all just really proud of how he has performed this year, especially turning it around so well from the beginning of the season. He thoroughly deserves all the plaudits he receives.
Having spoken to Brian, we are just going to put this weekend behind us and focus ahead to the next round in the Czech Republic. We know he can ride better than he showed in Semarang and we’ll be helping him out as much as possible in order to raise his level when the gate drops in Loket in a couple of weeks’ time.

Rider Standings

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team
1 GAJSER Tim 243 SLO 538 Team HRC – MXGP
2 SEEWER Jeremy 91 SWI 365 Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team
3 CAIROLI Antonio 222 ITA 358 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
4 TONUS Arnaud 4 SWI 346 Wilvo Yamaha MXGP
5 PAULIN Gautier 21 FRA 343 Wilvo Yamaha MXGP
6 JASIKONIS Arminas 27 LTU 299 Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
7 COLDENHOFF Glenn 259 NDL 288 Standing Construct KTM
8 VAN HOREBEEK Jeremy 89 BEL 271 Honda SR Motoblouz
9 JONASS Pauls 41 LAT 268 Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing
10 FEBVRE Romain 461 FRA 243 Monster Energy Yamaha Factory MXGP Team
11 ANSTIE Max 99 GBR 213 Standing Construct KTM
12 DESALLE Clement 25 BEL 208 Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing
13 LIEBER Julien 33 BEL 184 Monster Energy Kawasaki Racing
14 MONTICELLI Ivo 128 ITA 184 iFly JK Racing
15 BOGERS Brian 189 NDL 144 Team HRC – MXGP
16 LEOK Tanel 7 EST 132 A1M Husqvarna
17 SIMPSON Shaun 24 GBR 129 RFX KTM Racing
18 SEARLE Tommy 100 GBR 103 Bike It DRT Kawasaki
19 LUPINO Alessandro 77 ITA 103 Gebben V Venrooy Kawasaki
20 TIXIER Jordi 911 FRA 81 Team VHR KTM Racing
21 PATUREL Benoit 6 FRA 65 Gebben V Venrooy Kawasaki
22 HERLINGS Jeffrey 84 NDL 57 Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
23 BRYLYAKOV Vsevolod 18 RUS 44 JWR Yamaha Racing
24 STRIJBOS Kevin 22 BEL 43 JWR Yamaha Racing
25 GOLE Anton 297 SWE 30 iFly JK Racing
26 LUSBO Andero 621 EST 29 Wildcard Rider
27 STEWART Lewis 336 AUS 29 Wildcard Rider
28 PETROV Petar 152 BUL 24 Team Honda Red Moto
29 COLES Adam 227 AUS 22 Wildcard Rider
30 BUTRON Jose 17 SPA 18 JD Gunnex KTM Racing Team

Photos: Honda Racing Corporation

Gouveia is a lucky charm for Toni Bou. At the same location last year the champ celebrated his 100th victory in TrialGP world championships. This year he was once again on the top of the podium, this time taking the tally to 110 top-flight wins. Takahisa Fujinami, meanwhile, had to settle for fifth place, just one point shy of fourth spot after a decent trial.

The fifth round of the TrialGP world championship, held today in Gouveia, Portugal was marked by roasting temperatures and very demanding sections located amongst the boulders of the Parque de Nostra Senhora los Verdes.

Repsol Honda Team ace Toni Bou suffered considerably in the gruelling Portuguese trial. In spite of a first lap which saw Bou make several mistakes and pick-up a penalty for exceeding the lap time limit, the Champion was nevertheless able to stage a comeback on lap two to take his win tally to 110 out of 210 World Championship participations. This, the fifth victory of the season increases Bou’s overall lead to 22 points over the nearest second-place rival.

Bou’s Repsol Honda Team partner Takahisa Fujinami, also had a rough battle in the Portuguese sections. After leading for much of the first lap the Japanese rider finished the first tour still in a potential podium position, however, the second time around saw several riders so narrowly divided on points that Fujinami had to eventually settle for fifth final spot, a mere point from fourth place.

The next TrialGP world championship outing, the sixth points-paying round, will be held next weekend in Auron, France, 20/ 21 July.

Toni Bou

TRIAL: 1ST   STANDINGS: 1ST

Today was a very tough trial. It was a very positive weekend, with the type of terrain that we like a lot. We rode a very good second round through the sections, so we leave here with a very good taste in our mouths. We will try to be fully recovered for France to be able to have a good trial. We know that, if we win, I will be champion, something really impressive, but the important thing is to have a great trial. I am very happy and I want to thank the whole team because this week they have done a great job.

Takahisa Fujinami

TRIAL: 5TH   STANDINGS: 4TH

Today we started very well. Until section 13 I was leader, but later I picked up some time penalty marks. On the second lap I tried to change the line and the tracks. In the end I finished fifth but with good sensations. We will try to improve on the things that didn’t work for us today before next week’s trial.

Miquel Cirera

Team Manager

This was a weekend for the whole team. Obviously Toni battled hard and suffered because these trials are not easy and the rivals are very strong. Fujinami has also fought until the final sections to try and make the podium. Finally, it was not to be, but it was a great result. We will be fighting trial by trial, as we have been doing all season, so in France we will continue to do the same: try to win. Thanks as always to all the team and the riders for the good work.

Rider Standings

Pos. Rider Num Nation Points Team
1 BOU Toni 1 SPA 120 Repsol Honda Team
2 RAGA Adam 67 SPA 98 TRRS Factory Team
3 FAJARDO Jeroni 2 SPA 82 Gas Gas
4 FUJINAMI Takahisa 6 JPN 77 Repsol Honda Team
5 DABILL James 22 GBR 60 Beta Factory Racing
6 BUSTO Jaime 69 SPA 60 Vertigo Factory Team
7 CASALES Jorge 33 SPA 55 Vertigo Factory Team
8 KADLEC Franz 66 GER 47 TRRS Factory Team
9 BINCAZ Benoit 73 FRA 46 Beta Factory Racing
10 GELABERT Miquel 9 SPA 41 Sherco Factory Team
11 PRICE Jack 34 GBR 31 Gas Gas
12 FARRE Arnau 19 SPA 17 Team Jotagas
13 PEACE Dan 38 GBR 17 Sherco Factory Team
14 NOGUERA Oriol 13 SPA 10 Team Jotagas
15 KUROYAMA Kenichi 98 JPN 7 Yamaha Racing
16 RIVA  Andrea 96 ITA 6 TRRS Factory Team
17 NOZAKI Fumitaka 99 JPN 3 Yamaha Racing
18 OGAWA Tomoyuki 97 JPN 3 Honda

 

Photos: Honda Racing Corporation

Stage five marked the second half of the Silk Way Rally’s marathon stage. Following Wednesday’s long 470-kilometre timed special, bikes were left in parc fermé overnight where the only maintenance allowed had to be carried out by the riders themselves. With today’s stage clocking a total of 364.59 kilometres including a 337-kilometre timed special through the plains of Mongolia, bike and tyre preservation throughout the two days of riding proved key to a top result.

With a win on the first half of the marathon stage, the task of opening day five was given to Sam Sunderland. The British rider, using all of his experience, skill and speed maintained a strong but safe pace over the course of the two days. Despite leading the riders out into the fast tracks and mountain passes, Sam navigated the route perfectly, arriving at the finish after leading the entire stage. Today’s win increases Sunderland’s margin at the top of the provisional overall standings to over 13 minutes.

Sam Sunderland #6

“Stage five was another really fast stage, so I’m happy to complete it safely. Opening the route is always a big challenge, but here there are a lot of animals by the side of the track and you are always second-guessing what they are going to do. Luckily, I didn’t have any scary moments, so I was happy about that. I just tried to keep consistent throughout the stage and keep pushing. I’m really happy because I ended up winning the stage and it’s the first time I have won a stage while opening. The bike has been great on the second half of the marathon stage with no service, and the Michelin tyres have held up really well after two long days of riding. Things are going well, so I’ll continue to take each day as it comes.”

Second-fastest on the first half of the marathon stage, Luciano Benavides set out this morning with the goal of chasing down teammate Sunderland. Unfortunately, a couple of small errors ended up costing the young Argentinian some time and so in order to preserve himself and his KTM 450 RALLY, Luciano opted to stick to a solid pace and make it safely to the finish. With sixth place on the day’s stage, Benavides remains second overall, close to four minutes ahead of his brother Kevin in third.

Luciano Benavides #77

“Today was really tough for me. It was a really fast piste and very stony in places. I started really good and my rhythm was ok but today I was a little bit tired and lost focus in a couple of places, which ended up costing me some time. The marathon stage went well overall – I didn’t crash and the bike is ok and everything feels good in myself and on the bike. I’m really happy to finish these long stages and looking forward now to the next few days.” 

Putting in her best performance of the rally so far, Laia Sanz excelled on the fast, flowing stage five to post the eighth-fastest time, just less than nine minutes down on teammate Sunderland and only 21 seconds behind Benavides. The result elevates Laia two places to ninth overall in the provisional standings.

Laia Sanz #44

“I’m really happy today – it was another really fast stage but I felt confident on the bike and was able to keep to a good pace. The bike has been perfect with no problems over the whole marathon stage. I’m really looking forward to the coming stages now and hope I can keep posting some strong results.”

Now entering the second half of the event, stage six will cover a total of 411.75 kilometres of which 408.17 kilometres are timed special. The route leads competitors away from Mandalgovi to Dalanzadgad, which lies at an altitude of 1,470 metres.

Rider Standings

(Top 10 Only)

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Time/Gap
1 SUNDERLAND Sam GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team 12:44’26
2 BENAVIDES Luciano ARG KTM Factory Racing Team +13’44
3 BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team +17’18
4 GONCALVES Paulo POR Hero Motorsports Team Rally +21’10
5 MENA Oriol SPA Hero Motorsports Team Rally +26’02
6 SHORT Andrew USA Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing +26’20
7 VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team +26’42
8 CAIMI Franco ARG Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team +29’39
9 SANZ Laia SPA Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team +55’08
10 CORNEJO José Ignacio CHI Monster Energy Honda Team +1:01’08

Photos: KTM Press Center