Nine-time and defending FIM X-Trial World Champion Toni Bou hopes to set himself apart in Austria this weekend.
Whereas last year nine-time and reigning FIM X-Trial World Champion Toni Bou had the 2015 title wrapped up by the time the series reached the Arena Nova in Weiner Neustadt, Austria, this year’s third round is likely only going to determine just how close the title race will be at the series finale in Marseille, France, April 3.
With the 2016 indoor series featuring just four rounds, this weekend’s event at Arena Nova serves as the penultimate round, and Repsol Honda Team’s Bou is currently tied on points with fellow Spaniard Adam Raga; both men have 34 points, but Bou holds the tiebreaker advantage via his win at round two in Barcelona, Spain. Bou lines up this weekend in Austria, gunning for a win that would lessen the pressure at the GP in Marseille.
“Over the next ten days the indoor championship will be decided, and I will have to perform well in both competitions to be able to win the title,” Bou said. “It won’t be easy, I’m convinced about that. Adam showed in Sheffield and Barcelona that he is really strong, and I will have to improve more and not make any mistakes, if I want to win in Wiener Neustadt.”
Bou’s teammate, Takahisa Fujinmami, has posted a pair of fifth-place finishes in the two previous championship outings. In Barcelona, the Japanese ace narrowly missed out on a place in the final, something that he will look to rectify this weekend in Austria.
“I hope to be able to confirm my improvement in the indoor events in Austria,” Fujinami said. “I have been training to avoid making the mistakes that I made in Sheffield. In Barcelona I was very close to getting into the final, and that will be my aim for next two dates. I believe that it will be possible.”
The Wiener Neustadt round kicks off at Saturday at 6:30 p.m. local time, with the final expected to be underway by 9:30 p.m.
2016 FIM X-Trial World Championship Points Standings (after 2 of 4 rounds)
1. Toni Bou (ESP)-Hon/35
2. Adam Raga (ESP)-TRS/35
3. Albert Cabestany (ESP)-She/24
4. Jeroni Fajardo (ESP)-18/Ver
5. Takahisa Fujinami (JPN)-Mon/12