2011 Dakar Prep
Here we are! After some days of frantic preparation, now everything is set for the start of the third Dakar in South America, and the second for Team Aprilia Giofil.
On Thursday, the team was introduced in the conference room of La Rural, the center of the Dakar Village that receives all the preliminary phase of the race.
The five riders of Team Aprilia Giofil answered to the questions of the numerous journalists that attended to the press conference.
Naturally, all eyes were focused on Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez, considered as one of the few that can aim to defeat the power of Marc Coma (KTM) and Cyril Despres (KTM) in last five editions.
Also, it was the time to present all Aprilia Dakar riders in the team headed by Filippo Assirelli that will face the great challenge with Lopez, starting by his water carrier, the Spanish Gerard Farres, highly motivated in his precious task of supporting the Chilean champion.
The Aprilia team is composed also by Alain Duclos, the French-Malian that finished sixth overall last year and now joins Aprilia for the adventure; Alex Zanotti, the only one who will ride with the "light" version of Tuareg 4.5 and last but not least, Joan Barreda, the "rookie" of the team, who will run with the main goal of acquiring experience, but his skills in speed could might give a positive surprise.
Francisco Lopez says: "We are ready, very motivated. The bike has been developed and many changes have been applied since last year, at engine and cycling level. We have one year of experience over most of our rivals, which will be precious in the management of the difficulties of a race like the Dakar Rally."
On Friday, all Aprilia riders of the team have faced the first "step" of Dakar, the technical and administrative checks, the mandatory procedure before being able to place the bike in the parc fermé, from where they have to take it on New Year’s Day.
Little time for New Year’s parties: on Saturday, the Dakar 2011 will take the way. Etienne Lavigne and David Castera will held a briefing at 10am, and then, the start will be given at 14h30, under the Obelisque of Avenida 9 de Julio, where a crowd of 500.000 will attend to watch the big start.