Whilst not yet having completed the National Trial Champioship, Marc Colomer positively assesses the role of the GasGas Trial Factory Team in the TrialGP and X-Trial World Championships. Jaime Busto got GasGas its first indoor victory and Jeroni Fajardo won second place in the outdoor championship in a competition where both riders won 10 podium positions in total. However, the GasGas Team Manager has not forgotten the project he has also been very involved with since its inception: the GasGas TXE electric bike. The bike Loris Gubian rode to win the TrialE title once again, won previously by Colomer in 2017.
Jeroni Fajardo and Jaime Busto finished second and fourth in the TrialGP World Championship, respectively. How do you rate the outdoor season?
"It was good overall. The aim of the brand was to have the two riders always on the podium and be eligible for the top positions in the final classification of the Championship, something that we have finally achieved with the Jeroni's second place. Regarding Jaime, I value his overall level and not only the result, since he has had a good season and also won the first victory of his sporting career."
This has been the season of Jeroni's return to GasGas. What do you think about his performance?
"Jeroni has wanted to return to GasGas for a long time, since it was where he started to train as a rider and he has always had great memories. He himself has admitted that he had to return to the brand and confirm that it is the GasGas bike and equipment that works for him. That's what we were looking for with his signing: to give him that opportunity."
And it was Jaime's first year in the GasGas Trial Factory Team. How do you think it went for him?
"Jaime is a very young rider and it was a new situation for him to be in the GasGas team. The change of bike has not been any problem for him. Since the beginning of the season he has had very good results, which means that he adapted very quickly. We have come across very high-level riders, such as Toni Bou, Adam Raga or Jeroni himself; These three riders have been way above the other competitors and the conclusion is, that despite finishing fourth, just before the final day he was only four points behind the second position. As I said before, I value his overall level and it's been a good season. We are happy with the fact that he is a 20 year old rider, that the only thing he can do is improve and that we are going to try to help him do it."
The GasGas riders have been on the podium in more than half of the events and have achieved 2 wins, 3 second positions and 5 thirds. Did you expect these results?
"The truth is that I was very confident and yes, I expected these results. Beyond finishing the season as we did, the goal was also that race by race we could be on the podium, and except in Belgium and England, we have achieved it everywhere."
What do you think has been the best moment for the GasGas Trial Factory Team this season?
"The two victories in Japan were an exceptional moment for the team. It is a race that is always complicated because we do not have the same resources as in the races that are held in Europe. That double victory gave us a lot of confidence by knowing that we could be competitive at 10,000 kilometres from the factory, where it is always more complicated. In addition, it was Busto's first victory of his career and the first for 9 years for Fajardo. It was the most rewarding moment of the entire season for us."
"We were pioneers betting on TrialE, and we were not mistaken, as shown by Yamaha's entry this year."
What can you still improve?
"There were several races where we could have won and in the end we didn't. This makes us think that we will be able to do that in the future. We rate this season very positively but we are not stopping here. We are ambitious and the main short-term objective is to be even higher up, to get more wins and this means we have to prepare better, be more solid, learn from what has not worked this season and keep what has gone well."
This year Loris Gubian has again won the TrialE title you won last year in Lourdes and so culminating a process you have had a lot to do with. How did you feel when you got it?
"For me, Loris [Gubian's] win in TrialE was more satisfying this year than mine, especially because we had much tougher competitors at brand level. Yamaha hit the ground running with the idea of going for the championship. We were looking at it from another perspective: that of preparing the bike and helping Loris with that. I am very satisfied with the work done, especially because the first race got a bit complicated for us and we were unable to get a win. But to get a win in the second race, the way we did it and against a rival with so much potential was one of the most emotive moments of the season.
Now, the goal is to continue improving and make the bike more competitive to participate in higher categories and show that although the TrialE is still the future, it is an increasingly closer future. The fact that major engine brands are involved, as Yamaha has done this season, gives us strength and demonstrates that our idea was not wrong and that we were the pioneers. We are still the team to beat and we have to keep on working to continue on this path."
What are the next steps in the evolution of the TXE? And in competition?
"At competition level we depend a lot on the decisions of the FIM and the promoter, and at this moment it is not clear what kind of championship they want to have next year, how many races and in what way, amongst other questions. It is something that we have to discuss in the coming months and that by the end of the year we should know. Obviously, if the championship finally increases its number of events, it will affect us in competition strategy, since that means that the resources and the number of riders needed increases. We also hope that other brands participate and that the World Championship is more competitive and we have a greater motivation to win it for a third time.
On the level of evolution of the bike, however, it does not affect us at all. We will continue working on it regardless of the number of competitions there are. We want to show that the electric motorcycle can be very competitive and that not only can we prove it in the World Championship, but also in other championships."