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


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