Toni Bou didn’t mess up. In the first ‘match-point’, the Spaniard put on a show of mental resolve and riding prowess that saw him clinch a thirteenth win of the season and secure an unprecedented ninth world championship title.
Repsol Honda Team is already celebrating Toni Bou’s triumph in Paços de Ferreira in spite of still having one GP to go before the season winds up next weekend. It was made all the more special thanks to a hard-fought battle throughout the season with Bou’s arch-adversary, who constantly hounded at the champion’s heels and forced him to ride at an even higher level. Portugal was witness to a two-day display of extraordinary riding in which Bou kept the marks low, minimized errors, stayed in control and finished on top of the rostrum. After scoring six penalty points on the first lap, the crowd were treated to a flawless, mark-free exhibition.
Toni Bou’s success almost eclipsed the great performance of fellow Repsol Honda Team buddy Jaime Busto, who for a second day running, looked like grabbing a podium place, narrowly missing the target by just one mark. The Basque youngster rode a very fluid trial and after the first two laps was battling for a place on the podium, a place that will surely arrive given the rookie’s class and ambition.
Takahisa Fujinami once again spent the trial battling as much with lower-back pains as he did with the sections. This handicap stopped the Japanese rider from achieving his aims, finishing ninth on the day but holding fifth position in the overall standings.
Repsol Honda Team’s next outing comes in just a week’s time with the Spanish Trial GP, the last of the world championship calendar in 2015, set to take place in Teo (La Coruña).