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GERARD FARRÉS: “It took a lot of speed and effort to be where we are now”

  • The HIMOINSA Team leader, and Dakar 2018’s ninth place rider reflects on the first half of the race and on what is to come in the second week.

January 12th, 2018

Question: Arriving to the halfway point of the race, did you expect to be in this position?

Gerard Farrés (@gerardfarres): “More than expecting it, it was exactly what I wished for before the start. After the injury I had in May I did not know how competitive I was going to be. Obviously, you always come here with the desire to do well, but there are many riders with chances of winning, in each stage there are 20 factory riders to deal with. Being the first private motorcycle is important for us, as much as it is a great achievement to mix it up with the world’s best.”

Question: What do you think the key to this great performance is?

Gerard Farrés (@gerardfarres): “The key has been not getting nervous and not taking unnecessary risks. We were forced to push a lot, because this year the pace is very demanding, and we would not be where we are otherwise, but we have ridden a smart race and keeping in mind that there is still a lot of rally ahead. Every day we analyze the strategy with our director, Miguel Puertas and also, on a personal level, our teammate from recent years, rider Antonio Gimeno also helps me out from a strategic point of view. He is following the race very closely from Spain, he has a huge experience after finishing Dakar four times, he knows the tracks, the rivals and, above all, he has a much more global vision than those of us here. With him and with what we agree with Miguel, we are able to reach our full potential every day.”

Question: Is the difference between the factory motorcycles and the HIMOINSA Team’s KTMs that noticeable?

Gerard Farrés (@gerardfarres): “Of course it shows. For example, KTM came up with a much smaller bike than in previous years, like ours for example. The same goes for the Yamaha and the Honda, which are more compact bikes, and that makes for a bigger difference in performance. This year it is tougher to be able to keep up, although it is also true that the improvements to our bikes’ electronics allows them to work to their full potential and this is also allowing us to enjoy the race and compete at the highest level. From now on, when we enter the faster terrain, we may be closer to them.”

Question: Is this edition of Dakar being as complicated as it is said? Have the dune stages in Peru been that hard?

Gerard Farrés (@gerardfarres): “Yes, really the sand has been very complicated. Especially because there was a lot to lose with any small mechanical problem or due to the poor visibility offered by the dunes, which made it was very easy to have big crashes. Nevertheless, we were able to make a good interpretation of the route, avoid any navigation mistakes and overcome the difficulties of this first country with very good results.”

Question: Have you had any critical moments in these early stages?

Gerard Farrés (@gerardfarres): “The truth is that I have not had what we could consider a serious problem, because we all have saves and close calls every day, as you can see in the TV footage. However, in our case the strategy that had to be followed was clear every day, knowing when to get on the gas and when to keep a cool head. This also allowed us to surpass the most difficult areas without making mistakes and being in the right positions in every moment.”

Question: What do you think can be the key stage from now on?

Gerard Farrés (@gerardfarres): “There are still many challenges to overcome. Now we are facing two marathon stages, which are always very complicated for riders to manage. In Bolivia we are going to spend days at altitude, where rain and cold is expected, and that really affects you physically, but on top of that when we arrive in Argentina we expect a lot of heat again. We got through six days, but we still have eight treacherous days ahead of us.”

General Classification after 6 stages

1st K. Benavides (16: 33.20)

2nd A. Van Beveren (+01.57)

3rd M. Walkner (+03: 50)

9th Gerard Farrés (+18.08)

15th Dani Oliveras (+1: 06.05)

29th Marc Solà (+2: 24.04)

37th Iván Cervantes (+2: 59.33)

70th Rose Romero (+8: 35.27)

 

Next stage: La Paz – Uyuni