Japanese legend Takahisa Fujinami is the latest addition to the line-up for Montpellier alongside Alexandre Ferrer and Miquel Gelabert.
Former world number two Fujinami will join the remainder of the world´s top riders at Round Two of the FIM X-Trial World Championship in the X-Trial Montpellier, which will take place in the Sud de France Arena on 13th January. The Repsol Montesa Honda rider is a fan´s favourite thanks to his performance and technical qualities, but also his spectacular tricks that enthuse spectators. Fujinami made his X-Trial debut in 1998, and since then has made a total of 131 appearances, and reaching 35 podiums including his sole victory to date, in Koblenz in 2004.
The other new additions to the line-up from the opening Round in Vendée will be Alexandre Ferrer of France and Spain´s Miquel Gelabert. Ferrer is France´s most experienced X-Trial competitor, thanks to a total of 20 World Championship appearances, and he will aim to improve on his previous best result of a fifth position taken in Sheffield back in 2013. He has already been an FIM medallist on four occasions, thanks to podium finishes with the French national team in the X-Trial of Nations. Miquel Gelabert, meanwhile, is one of the future stars of the discipline at just 19 years of age. And, thanks to the new selection criteria for the FIM X-Trial World Championship in 2018, will meet the elite of the discipline for the first time in Montpellier.
Takahisa Fujinami, Alexandre Ferrer and Miquel Gelabert join the five permanent riders: Toni Bou, Jaime Busto, Adam Raga, James Dabill and Benoit Bincaz. And completing the line-up will be Jeroni Fajardo, who also took part in Vendée and qualified to the second round as the best-performing Event Rider in the opening event of the campaign.
Rider selections for the 2018 FIM X-Trial World Championship are carried out by 2Play, the Championship promoter, following the criteria set down by the FIM (Fédération Internationale de Motocyclisme) in the Championship regulations. Competitors comprise five ´Championship Riders´ and four ´Event Riders´, as per the regulations, with nine riders in total therefore competing at each round following the following criteria:
1. The FIM X-Trial World Champion of the previous year,
2. One of the top 5 Riders of the FIM X-Trial or Trial World Championship of the previous year.
3. A Rider from the FIM X-Trial or Trial World Championship of the previous year and of a nationality different from the one (s) above.
4. A Rider from the FIM X-Trial or Trial World Championship of the previous year and of a nationality other than the one (s) represented above.
5. A Rider of the FIM X-Trial or Trial World Championship of the previous year, under 25 years old.
*With the exception of the reigning World Champion, the FIM and 2Play reserve the right to replace a Championship Rider if, after the opening two rounds, a rider is outside of the top six positions in the provisional series standings.
6. The best ´Event Rider´ in the previous round.
7. A rider of a different nationality to those already selected (with the exception of rider number six).
8. A chosen rider under 25 years of age.
9. A Wild Card rider.
This new system aims to increase the variety of different riders participating, enabling a wide selection of riders to gain experience in X-Trial competition. In this way, competitiveness and the highest possible level of spectacle are guaranteed, enabling the development of the X-Trial World Championship and its young riders from various nationalities.