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Inside Dakar With Yamaha Rider Frans Verhoeven

Yamaha Racing grabs a precious few moments with Yamaha Netherlands Verhoeven Team rider Frans Verhoeven at the bivouac after an impressive ride through the eleventh stage..

Verhoeven on the high point so far..
“The best moment has to be the first stages as I could attack all the time in the big sand dunes. I’m quite satisfied with today’s eleventh as well, I made some small mistakes but I jumped five places up the overall standings.”

Verhoeven on the 450 Yamaha..
“It’s great, there are no words for it. It’s like a toy! So easy to ride and handle. It’s just a normal motocross bike with some extra bits on top. Even with the extra weight of the rally outfit it’s working so well here.”

Verhoeven on the come back..
“I’m trying hard to do it, I always believe in myself and the bike, I dropped some time because of the fuel pump issue but since then I’ve kept fighting and moving forward. I will try to catch Olivier Pain on the 12th stage. My goal originally was to finish in the top five, I’m not sure if it’s still possible but I will try. I feel good and physically strong, I’m resting well and taking care of myself. The Yamaha France guys are taking really good care of my bike which I’m really satisfied with so I think we can move forward.”

Verhoeven on ‘downtime’..
“At the end of every stage I first answer any questions the press have. Then I get to have a shower, eat and get a massage. I make sure I’m taking care of my body, the Dakar is so hard, you have to look after yourself and don’t forget a day has only 24hrs!”

Verhoeven on riding with others..
“I’m quite good riding with Caselli, he rides steady. If I’m faster he lets me past and the other way round also. I also rode with fellow Yamaha rider Olivier pain for a while which worked really well.”

Verhoeven on Yamaha fans..
“I really want to thank them all, I get a lot of messages on twitter, facebook and sms messages also. It’s incredible how people are following and supporting me. There are real Yamaha supporters all over the world. You realize you are not only doing your race but you’re part of the big Yamaha picture, those people, these fans, are racing with me in their minds.”

Verhoeven on rivals..
“Now my biggest rival has to be Olivier Pain, he’s my team mate but I would love to finish in front of him. It would mean a lot to me to finish the first Yamaha rider. That would have a big value for me because the support from Yamaha Motor Netherlands and Yamaha Motor Europe has been amazing.”

Verhoeven on first time Dakar riders..
“Don’t go without really knowing what it takes to compete, do some World Championship rounds first. I’ve seen some amateur racers come and they don’t have the level to compete. There are a lot of guys here who have abandoned the rally already. It’s really important to be aware this is the hardest race in the world; some people see it as too romantic.”