MY LIFE UNTIL 2021
Yes, that’s correct what you just read, my life will continue with the Repsol Honda Team until 2021. Having moved to the team that has already taken me to twenty-two world titles in 2007 – yes that long ago – why would I move? I have signed on the dotted line, adding a further three years to extend my contract with HRC which will make it fifteen seasons with the same team.
Up until the point where I tested the four-stroke Repsol Honda, before I signed my original contract in 2007, I had ridden just two-stoke trials machines and, yes, I was quite apprehensive as to what a fourstroke would feel like. Before I first tested the machine, I was very fortunate that I had seen what it could achieve in the hands of Dougie Lampkin and Takahisa Fujinami and so I knew it was very capable of winning at the highest level. Another person who influenced me was Amos Bilbao. He had been involved with the development in Europe and ridden one of the very early machines in the world famous Scott Trial in 2004. He explained how the machine worked and the best technique to use to get the best from its four-stroke engine. Yes, you do get the four-stroke engine braking effect, which, at first, is very different from the two-stroke, but I soon adapted to this.
As I am sure you are aware my practice and riding regime is very intense. All the world titles have come off the back of some very hard work. The Repsol Honda Team is a very good one to be part of. Where I feel very privileged is in the fact that nothing is ever too much trouble for any member of the team. If I want any changes they are always enthusiastic to listen as to why I want to make a change. We then talk about it as a team before we make the decisions.
Before I close, I want to say how grateful I am to Honda and the whole team for treating me as well as they have always done and I reiterate that this long relationship with the team also shows the excellent bond that we have always maintained.
Have a good Christmas and I will see you all again in 2018. Until Next Time – Ride On! – Toni