– Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

Motorcycle News, Editorials, Product Reviews and Bike Reviews

2014 Dakar Rally Rest Day

After six very difficult and challenging stages and days, the Yamaha Factory Racing riders had a chance to take a break from their Yamaha YZ450F machines today and relax a little ahead of the second half of the 2014 Dakar Rally.

A promising sixth stage yesterday saw Michael Metge complete the first half of the Rally with his best ever stage finish of third. After some difficult issues in the previous stages, defending champion Cyril Despres enjoyed a positive sixth stage. Starting from 17th Despres worked his way up the time sheets to finish in fifth place. Fellow Yamaha Factory Racing rider Olivier Pain was glad of the rest today after a navigational error left him playing catch up yesterday to finish the sixth stage in 14th position.

Whilst the riders don’t cover any miles on their bikes today, the bivouac is far from quiet with the mechanics flat out rebuilding the bikes while the riders are kept busy sorting out their equipment, treating their blisters and bruises and doing interviews. At 14h00 the road book for tomorrow will be issued and then at 18h00 there will be the briefing. If they are lucky they might at least get an early night. And they will need it as tomorrow they will start the first day of the marathon stage at 4h30 in the morning!

Having dominated the first half of the rally, Yamaha Raptor 700 quad riders were also enjoying a day of rest before continuing their battle to retain the top three positions of the overall standings. After yesterday’s sixth stage, Uruguay’s Sergio Lafuente holds the top spot, Polish rider Rafal Sonik sits in second and local Chilean hero Ignacio Casale sits in third.

Cyril Despres
Yamaha Factory Racing

“Well it hasn’t been such an easy first week for anybody. The organisers promised us a tough rally and they have more than kept that promise, with a lot of riders, including some of the very best, already out of the race. The fact that we are a new team with a new bike has made the challenge even tougher and we’ve had a couple of problems that have cost us precious time and currently I’m 11th overall at 2h24 from the leader. If my analysis is correct, the second week is going to be even tougher and from my point of view that’s good news. Right now I really don’t know how far I will be able to move up the rankings but if the second week is anything like the first then pretty much anything could happen. The ‘charm’ of the Dakar is that nobody knows the result until the end of the very last stage. What I do know is that I will give everything I’ve got all the way to the end. I’m a racer – that’s the only way I know.”

Michael Metge
Yamaha Factory Racing

“I’m obviously disappointed with Cyril’s position. My job is to help him, so if he’s having a hard time I feel the same emotion. One of the many things that has impressed me this week though has been his motivation and his belief in himself. He never gives up and always keeps pushing. For my part I’ve really felt the benefit of all the training I did in the months leading up to the rally. This time last year I was feeling pretty exhausted, but this year, despite the difficult of the race so far, I feel on top form and more than ready for what is to come. That for sure has had an impact on my mental state because I also feel really positive. Cyril has had an important role to play there as well. With just a few well-chosen words he helps me find the right pace and the right attitude.”

Olivier Pain
Yamaha Factory Racing

“Given the difficulty of the rally so far, just to have made it to the rest day can be considered as an exploit. Even better, this evening I’m 6th overall and 40 minutes away from the podium. And as an added bonus I’m not injured and, the change of engine aside, have had no major mechanical problems. All in all a very positive first week. For the rest of the rally I plan to carry on pretty much in the same way. We’ll need to take care in Bolivia, which will be completely new and could throw up some surprises, especially given that it’s a marathon stage. After that I plan to take the brakes off a little and increase my pace slightly while still maintaining a good margin of safety.”

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