Last weekend, Team Honda’s Ernesto Fonseca competed in the All Japan National MX Championship Series, held in Sendai, Japan, at the Sugo Racetrack. Though he didn’t score the overall win, Ernie did succeed in winning the first championship moto aboard a 2004 Honda CRF250R. We caught up with Ernie for a quick report on how his weekend went…
TransWorld Motocross: Hey Ernie, how was Japan? Are you jet-lagged out, or what?
Ernesto Fonseca: “No, not too bad. I was only there for a week, so I didn’t get totally used to the time difference. The trip was awesome! I had a great time and it was an experience, for sure!”
TWMX: You became the first rider to ever race the Honda CRF250R, and you were also chosen to give the Yamaha YZ250F its race debut back in 2000…
EF: “Yeah, that’s pretty cool, isn’t it? I was thinking about that on the way home. I guess I am pretty lucky.”
TWMX: How would you compare this trip to the one we took back in 2000?
EF: “Well, this one seemed to go by faster. The whole time I was there, I was either testing or in meetings. I didn’t have much free time. The track was really good at Sugo, but man it was slippery! It looked nice and tacky, but it was so hard-packed that it was slick. It was even more slick that Washougal!”
TWMX: So give us a quick race report…
EF: “Well, I won the first moto and beat Chad Reed, which was a big confidence-booster for me. Chad actually led the first part of the race, but I was able to pass him in a set of whoops and pull away. My bike was definitely faster than his YZ250F—I could pull him on the uphills and straightaways. I felt good and I think that I proved that the bike is competitive. I didn’t win the second moto because I got caught behind one of the Japanese Yamaha riders. Chad got out front and got away from me. I think if I was more aggressive while trying to pass the Japanese rider, things might have been different. No excuses, though, Chad outrode me and I was not as fast in race two as I was in the first moto.”
TWMX: Was Honda happy with your performance?
EF: “I think so. Of course, we all would have liked it better if I had won both races, but winning the first moto on a bike that I was not even used to says a lot about the bike. Chad has been racing his bike all year long, and I just got on the CRF after riding a two-stroke all year long!”
TWMX: So can we expect to see you aboard a CRF250R in the 2003 125cc Nationals?
EF: “Nothing is set in stone yet, but after riding the bike in Japan, I would say yes, if I have anything to say about it! There are some disadvantages and some advantages to riding a four-stroke, but I think that the Honda has less disadvantages than the Yamahas I raced in 2000 and 2001. The bike is really, really awesome. I would say that it is the most perfect production bike I have ever ridden. Honda will definitely sell out of all of them!”