Yamaha Riders Make First Kilometres in the 2016 Dakar Rally

2016-01-05 20:44
After yesterday's agitation caused by the cancellation of the first special stage, the Yamaha riders were impatient for the 2016 Dakar Rally battle to officially kick off today. Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team's Alessandro Botturi and Hélder Rodrigues ranked within the top 13, while Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team's Adrien Van Beveren and Xavier De Soultrait did well to make up time after taking a fall, finishing in 29th and 51st place respectively.

As a result of yesterday's storm in Cordoba, causing Dakar organisers to shorten the last part of today's special stage, a challenging day was expected for this second stage of the race. The odometer took a significant leap of 687 kilometers, as the riders and their WR450F Rally units travelled from Villa Carlos Paz to Termas De Rio Hondo. The long special was made for those participants who love riding through hills and crossing rivers, whilst the fast routes also set up a high speed over the whole length.

Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team's Alessandro Botturi, got under way with no pressure and demonstrated his good technical abilities and ease in rally competitions. Despite suffering a wrist-injury from falling down in a departure zone, he did well to keep his concentration during a difficult and very technical stage and classify in 11th place.

Keeping his eyes on his ultimate goal of finishing the 2016 Dakar Rally at the front, teammate Hélder Rodrigues rode a safe first special stage and kept his own rhythm. He achieved the objective he set for himself of staying within the first group without taking any risk and finished in 13th position.

Despite the WR450F Rally's superb handling, there was one opponent that proved to be particularly challenging for the junior riders today; the mud. The muck prevented Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team's Van Beveren from fully displaying his abilities.

After securing his place on the Dakar prologue podium on Saturday, the Dakar-rookie had an open road ahead of him. He had carefully prepared his road-book for his first ever stage in the toughest rally in the world, experienced a typical Dakar special, which included crucial navigation and unforeseen challenges. He got bogged down in the mud and lost ten precious minutes in the overall classification. However, for Van Beveren, who turned 25 today, celebrating his birthday on the Dakar track with a 29th place finish for the day will remain an unforgettable memory.

Today's stage promised to be a bit more tough also for his teammate Xavier De Soultrait. He started quite far down the field and aimed to pass the competitors ahead of him, despite the fast pace set by the front-runners, but drama struck. The junior broke his road-book reader during a fall, 30 kilometres into the stage. He was forced to stop and did some mechanic, therefore missing the opportunity to make a comeback, though he still booked progress in the overall classification. De Soultrait went from 117th place to the 51st position, while turning the pages of his road-book manually.

Tomorrow the Yamaha riders will go from Termas de Rio Hondo to Jujuy following a 663-kilometre stage that includes a 312-kilometres special.

You can follow Yamaha's progress in the Dakar Rally HERE .
Click HERE for more imagery of Dakar 2016.

Alessandro Botturi

Alessandro Botturi, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team

11th / 03:52:53 / +00:06:29

"Overall, it was a good stage for me. I was not very aggressive because the stage was quite difficult and very technical. There were ruts, pools of mud, provoking mistakes. I got in trouble after about 200 kilometres, when I realised too late that I was entering a departure zone. I had to brake hard and lost control of my bike. My wrist hurt! I need to treat this wound tonight to be strong tomorrow. Otherwise, I had good sensation on the bike and I am satisfied with my chrono.''

Hélder Rodrigues

Hélder Rodrigues, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team

13th / 03:53:57 / +00:07:33

"As usually on the Dakar, I started with an average tempo; I'm never one of the fastest riders at the beginning. 16th seems far down on the overall classification sheet but the chrono is more important than the position. I rode a good time today so I'm not worried. The Dakar is a very long race and it was important for me and the team not to take risks in today's technical special. I will keep up this pace tomorrow because I don't want to get too excited, as my focus is set on the finish. I also need to be in good shape for the marathon stage with a good-performing bike."

Adrien Van Beveren

Adrien Van Beveren, Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team

29th / 04:03:18 / 00:16:54

"I was a bit unlucky during today's stage. I wanted to dodge some water, because I knew it could damage my bike, so I decided to take another lane. Unfortunately it was full of mud and I got bogged down. It took me a while to remove it. A little further, I stopped again to check my bike; I think I lost more or less ten minutes. Other than that, I had very good feelings on my WR450F Rally. I was calm, confident and happy to be close to the front-runners. All in all, it was a good stage and I could have gotten a great result. I count on tomorrow to do better."

Xavier De Soultrait

Xavier De Soultrait, Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team

51st / 04:15:26 / 00:29:02

"It couldn't have been a more difficult start for me on this year's Dakar. I hit an obstacle and fell down with the bike in the first kilometres. I was fine, but suffered some damages to my bike; the most annoying issue was that the road-book reader was broken. I had to turn the pages of the road-book myself during the whole special, making the navigation more difficult and the stage very challenging. I passed many competitors but with the dust and this technical issue I did not have such a good rhythm. It's never been so hard for me at the start, but I am still confident in my abilities to tackle this challenge and feel good on my new bike. Tomorrow is another day."

José Leloir, Yamalube Yamaha Rally Teams Director

"Today was a first step in the Dakar Rally; not the easiest one but we know that this tough race is also a matter of endurance and we will make adjustments from one stage to another. Now that the race has started, we want to prepare carefully the next steps, especially the marathon stage in two days. The bikes arrived in the bivouac full of mud: we will do some work tonight to get them back into a good shape''

Stage 2 Overall Results

1. Toby Price (AUS), KTM, 03:46:24
2. Ruben Faria (PRT), Husqvarna, 03:47:44, +00:01:20
3. Alain Duclos (FRA), Sherco TVS, 03:48:15, +00:01:51
4. Matthias Walkner (AUT), KTM, 03:48:24, 00:02:00
5. Stefan Skitvo (SVK), KTM, 03:48:52, +00:02:28
6. Paulo Gonçalves (PRT), Honda, 03:49:02, 00:02:38
7. Joan Barreda Bort (ESP), Honda, 03:49:46, 00:03:22
8. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 03:50:00, 00:03:36
9. Juan Pedrero Garcia (ESP), Sherco TVS, 03:50:49, 00:04:25
10. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 03:50:56, 00:04:32
11. Alessandro Botturi (ITA), Yamaha, 03:52:53, +00:06:29
12. Ivan Jakes (SVK), KTM, 03:51:33, 00:07:09
13. Hélder Rodrigues (PRT), Yamaha, 03:53:57, +00:07:33
14. David Casteu (FRA), KTM, 03:54:28, 00:08:09
15. Laia Sanz (ESP), KTM, 03:54:33, 00:07:09
29. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 04:03:18, 00:16:54
37. Frans Verhoeven (NLD), Yamaha, 04:05:36, 00:19:12
46. Mauricio Javier Gomez (ARG), Yamaha, 04:12:02, 00:25:38
49. Bruno Da Costa (FRA), Yamaha, 04:13:57, 00:27:33
51. Xavier De Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 04:15:26, 00:29:02

Source: Yamaha Motor Europe N.V.

Click here to visit our forums to discuss this story