MOTOCROSSTIME - NEWS FROM MERZOUGA RALLY 2018
MONSTER ENERGY HONDA TEAM
Monster Energy Honda Team rider Joan Barreda today rode to a sensational win in the first full stage of the Merzouga Rally with the team’s other riders also placing in top positions.
Joan Barreda clinched the triumph in the second special stage for Monster Energy Honda Team after fellow team rider Kevin Benavides had taken the victory in the prologue yesterday. Barreda put in a high speed performance over the course of 200 kilometres on an error-free, yet highly demanding stage. The Merzouga Rally produced a few navigational traps which left some competitors in a quandary. Barreda is the new leader of the race.
Barreda completed the special in 3 h 15’58”, some eight minutes ahead of the nearest second place rival. Ricky Brabec, Kevin Benavides and José Ignacio Cornejo likewise wrapped up the first stage with excellent results. Brabec posted third place and yesterday’s winner Benavides came home in fifth position. Paulo Gonçalves saw his ride hampered by navigational mishaps that caused him to finish further back. Tomorrow, Tuesday, the Portuguese rider, will be looking to claw back part of the time dropped today.
The second stage, once again made up of two loops, will be held tomorrow with one part in the northern area of Merzouga and the other in the southern area of the Tombouctou Hotel. Navigation will again be one of the key factors of the day with a total of 175.30 kilometres to travel before the day is through.
STAGE: 1st – OVERALL: 1st
“The first stage was a complicated one with a lot of navigation and some traps which were difficult to get out of. We have managed to get a good result on this first day, but there is still a long way to go and we must keep working hard, stay focused on the navigation and at the same time, keep the pace on track.”
“Stage one is over. It was a pretty fast one with a lot of fesh fesh. Starting on loop A was okay, but when we got onto the second loop it was very tough. The side by side vehicles were still on the loop and had made it really, really dusty. We managed to make it through to the end of the special. We are going to push tomorrow and over the next four days.”
ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING TEAM
QUINTANILLA FOURTH IN A DEMANDING STAGE ONE OF THE MERZOUGA RALLY
Following a strong and well-calculated performance on the first long rally stage of the 2018 Merzouga Rally, Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Pablo Quintanilla has posted the fourth fastest time in stage one of the event. Putting himself in an advantageous position for Tuesday’s stage two, the Chilean rally star has his eyes set on climbing even higher in the rally’s provisional overall standings.
Living up to everyone’s expectations, stage one of this year’s Merzouga Rally included some tricky navigation in the dunes of Morocco. Making full use of his vast experience reigning Cross-Country Rallies World Champion Quintanilla remained calm and collective throughout the 206km-long special stage. Securing third on stage one, the FR 450 Rally powered rider has earned a good starting position for Tuesday’s stage two.
For Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing’s Andrew Short, stage one of the Merzouga Rally has been a big learning experience. Faced with the demanding task of opening the tracks for a considerable part of the timed special, the American brought his Husqvarna home in 10th position. Continuing to learn and make progress, Short is looking forward to the remaining four stages of the rally in the dunes of Morocco.
Stage two of the 2018 Merzouga Rally features a timed special of 175km that merges faster tracks with some tough dune sections. Made up of two loops in the northern and southern part of Merzouga, it is expected to be a physically demanding stage. Pablo Quintanilla: “It was a difficult day and I’m happy with fourth in the stage. There are some small differences in the roadbook compared to what we’re used to from the World Championship, so it took me some time to get used to it. There were many notes put together and lots of technical trails with demanding navigation. Despite a few small mistakes I had a good pace and managed to get a good result at the end. I’m satisfied with the way things have started here in Morocco and I’m looking forward to the stages to come. I have a good starting position for tomorrow and my goal is to take advantage of it to make up some time. The race will be long and I know that in some places it’s better to slow down and pay attention to my navigation instead of going flat out. My goal is to remain focused and continue pushing for a good result.”
Andrew Short: “It felt great to be back racing a real rally stage. The day was quite adventurous for me as I found myself leading out some tracks for 45 kilometres. It sure was a great day and I’m happy I got to experience the feeling of being up front. At one point I got a bit lost but managed to get back on the right tracks and continue towards the finish. It was a good learning experience. Right before the end there were many side-by-side vehicles and you had to take some risks to make passes. Trying to make a pass I had a crash in the dunes but was lucky to escape with no major damage. I’m very happy to bring it home in one piece and still be in the hunt for a good overall result.”
Merzouga Rally 2018 – Stage 1 results
|1||BARREDA Joan||SPA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||3:15’58|
|2||CAIMI Franco||ARG||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||Yamaha||+8’03|
|3||BRABEC Ricky||USA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+11’25|
|4||QUINTANILLA Pablo||CHI||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+12’17|
|5||BENAVIDES Kevin||ARG||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+12’46|
|6||PEDRERO Joan||SPA||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||Sherco||+14’23|
|7||PRICE Toby||AUS||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+14’54|
|8||CORNEJO José Ignacio||CHI||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+14’57|
|9||SANTOLINO Lorenzo||SPA||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||Sherco||+21’31|
|10||SHORT Andrew||USA||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+26’14|
|11||MENA Oriol||SPA||Hero Motorsports Team Rally||Hero||+28’15|
|12||DUPLESSIS Martín||ARG||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||Sherco||+29’08|
|13||SVITKO Stefan||SLO||Slovnaft Team||KTM||+29’34|
|14||BOTTURI Alessandro||ITA||Botturi Racing||Yamaha||+30’21|
|15||CERUTTI Jacopo||ITA||Moto Racing Group – MRG||Husqvarna||+38’10|
|16||GONCALVES Paulo||POR||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+44’03|
Merzouga Rally 2018 – Provisional Standings after Stage 1
|1||BARREDA Joan||SPA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||3:22’16|
|2||CAIMI Franco||ARG||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||Yamaha||+7’36|
|3||BRABEC Ricky||USA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+11’03|
|4||BENAVIDES Kevin||ARG||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+11’53|
|5||QUINTANILLA Pablo||CHI||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+11’54|
|6||PEDRERO Joan||SPA||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||Sherco||+13’50|
|7||PRICE Toby||AUS||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+14’04|
|8||CORNEJO José Ignacio||CHI||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+14’37|
|9||SANTOLINO Lorenzo||SPA||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||Sherco||+20’59|
|10||SHORT Andrew||USA||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+26’03|
|16||GONCALVES Paulo||POR||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+43’27|