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.

Joan Barreda

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.”Merzouga-Rally-2018-Stage-1-Ricky-Brabec-01

Ricky Brabec

STAGE: 3rd – OVERALL: 3rd

“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.”

Merzouga-Rally-2018-Stage-1-Paulo-Goncalves -01 Merzouga-Rally-2018-Stage-1-Kevin-Benavides-01 Merzouga-Rally-2018-Stage-1-Joan-Barreda-01


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. 1.45368_pablo.quintanilla_rockstar-energy-husqvarna-factory-racing_merzouga_rally2018_023Pablo 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.” 
2.45359_andrew.short_rockstar-energy-husqvarna-factory-racing_merzouga_rally2018_019Andrew 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

 
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
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

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
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