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2016 Dakar Prologue; The Show Has Begun!

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After a week of intense preparations in Buenos Aires, Argentina, the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team and Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team were delighted to kick off the 2016 Dakar Rally today.

The prologue consisted of a timed 11-kilometre course, serving as an appetizer for the 556 competitors, including 143 participants on motorbikes. Amongst the fierce competition were four Yamaha riders aboard their all-new WR450F Rally.

Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team’s Hélder Rodrigues signed off 2016 Dakar’s first timed section with a solid third position. He was followed by Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team’s Adrien Van Beveren, who secured a strong fourth place in his first ever Dakar Rally ride. Rodrigues’ teammate, Alessandro Botturi, finished in a good eleventh place, while Yamaha’s second junior rider, Xavier De Soultrait, overcame some issues today to classify 117th.

Today’s prologue was not long enough to be considered a first stage, but could be seen as a short warm-up session, which was followed by a 227-kilometre liaison to the bivouac in Rosario.

The start podium took place in Buenos Aires in the sweltering Argentinian heat, where a huge crowd applauded the riders. After 11 years without a prologue, the 2016 edition was of an equally thrilling quality to the last one held in 2005, which was won by David Fretigné on a Yamaha.

With the warm-up successfully completed, tomorrow the four Yamaha riders will leave the Rosario bivouac early in the morning to travel to Villa Carlos Paz for the first stage, counting 632 kilometres.

Hélder Rodrigues, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team

3rd / 00:06:30 / +00:00:03

“It was a good day for me as I achieved my goal. The Dakar Rally is long and I wanted to be at the front from the beginning. Tomorrow I will be able to start in a good position and feel confident in my riding. It’s a good result for the whole team too, as we appeared to be the fastest one today. I want us to keep this pace up during the next stages.”

Alessandro Botturi, Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team

11th / 00:06:41 / +00:00:14

“For me it was OK to play it safe today. The race actually starts tomorrow, but it was important to get a good result today and we did do so; we positioned well for the first stage. It was a fast prologue, I had good feelings on my bike and felt no pressure. I will be in a good group tomorrow, with Quintania and Villadoms, and that’s great for me.”

Adrien Van Beveren, Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team

4th / 00:06:31 / +00:00:04

“My first day ever on the Dakar went well. It was not a stage, but a small prologue and I’m glad I managed it well. I was a bit under pressure at the starting line but I knew I had the abilities to ride fast. It was a good opportunity for me to prove all my abilities and this is what happened. During the next stages there is more navigation. I’m preparing my road book well so I can ride confidently tomorrow as I try to stay in front.”

Xavier De Soultrait, Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team

117th / 00:10:17 / +00:03:50

“First day, first kilometres and first problem. It was a mixed day for me. I had to stop in a ‘rio’ with water and then it took me a lot of time to check my bike, so I finished in a less good position. Today could have been better for me, I will start quite far down the field tomorrow and I will need to pass many competitors. It will be a stage full of dust and this requires me to focus a 100 per cent and not take any risks to gain places. But the road is still very long and I will have time to take my Yamaha all the way in a better manner.”

Alexandre Kowalski, Yamalube Yamaha Rally Teams Manager

“It was a positive day for the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team and Yamalube Yamaha Junior Rally Team. We were impatient for this year’s Dakar to start, as it has been months of preparation and the prologue results are very encouraging, though the true race starts tomorrow. Today was a good first step in the Dakar Rally for Yamaha, as we managed to position three of our four riders in the top 11. We want to show up on the top of the results list for the upcoming three stages, which we will tackle in a good condition thanks to this positive prologue.”

Prologue Results

1. Joan Barreda Bort (ESP), Honda, 00:06:27
2. Ruben Faria (PRT), Husqvarna, 00:06:27, +00:00:00
3. Hélder Rodrigues (PRT), Yamaha, 00:06:30, +00:00:03
4. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Yamaha, 00:06:31, +00:00:04

5. Mickael Metge (FRA), Honda, 00:06:35, +00:00:08
6. Kevin Benavides (ARG), Honda, 00:06:35, +00:00:08
7. Gerard Farres Guell (ESP), KTM, 00:06:36, +00:00:09
8. Pablo Quintanilla (CHL), Husqvarna, 00:06:37, +00:00:10
9. Stefan Skitvo (SVK), KTM, 00:06:38, +00:00:11
10. Jordi Viladoms (ESP), KTM, 00:06:40, +00:00:13
11. Alessandro Botturi (ITA), Yamaha, 00:06:41, +00:00:14

117. Xavier De Soultrait (FRA), Yamaha, 00:10:17, +00:03:50

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