170 motorcycles and quads that will take the official starting flag for the 33rd Dakar have gone through the administrative and technical checks in La Rural.
This year, on motorcycles, the race will be much more exciting because all top riders of the discipline are obligated to run on 450 cc motorcycles.
The common opinion is that this revolution will create an open race, where different makes will have a chance to score a stage win.
Of course, for their background, character and experience, Marc Coma and Cyril Despres, both on KTM, are the favorites. But eyes also focus on the Chilean rider Francisco "Chaleco" López, who runs in his home country with Aprilia, the bike that took him to the 3rd place overall last year, and which has evolved since then.
Chaleco is assured by becoming the first rider of Aprilia, and someone that knows the smell of the victory. David Casteu, current FIM Cross Country Rallies World Champion in 450, will also love to attract some attention this year, same way as Helder Rodriguez and Jordi Viladoms in Yamaha, Frans Verhoeven in BMW, Bethys in Honda and many others of a quite high level…
Unfortunately, David Frétigné, hurt in Morocco, had to withdraw just like the young Polish Jakub Przygonski, who broke his wrist 15 days ago…
In quads, the race will be open because Marcos Patronnelli, great winner of the last edition, has broken his two ankles not so long ago, but is on the race next to his brother Alejandro.
But, be aware of the Czech Josef Machacek, the winner of this category in 2000 and 2009 would like to take the crown back.
Today, the 33rd Dakar motorcycles are off from the Obelisco for a first day of 300 km road transfer. The timed race will start on Sunday.