Dakar: Aprilia’s Francisco ‘Chaleco’ Lopez Bio

Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez Biography

For 2012 Dakar, Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez will compete on the Team Aprilia RXV; since joining Team Aprilia, Lopez’s best Dakar finishes were third in 2010, and fourth in 2011. Following is a bio of Lopez courtesy of Aprilia.

Francisco López was born September 15, 1975 in Curicó, the southern center region of Chile. At the age of four, he started riding a motorcycle, motivated by his father, Renato Lopez, a very brave motocross rider.

López not only inherited the talent from his father, but also the nickname “Chaleco,” which means “sweater,” arriving from the fact that his dad raced with a sweater knitted by his mother Ana María.

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Francisco Lopez started in rally raid in Por las Pampas in 2005, where he obtained a stage victory, showing its strength in this discipline. In 2007, he was crowned World Champion in 450cc class with Honda. This result took him straight to take the place of an official KTM rider in 2007.

“Chaleco” became an official rider of Team Giofil Aprilia Racing in Pharaons Rally 2009 and took the Aprilia bike made in Noale, Italy, to the third place in Dakar 2010. That same year, López won the Rally of Tunisia and took the second place overall and first in 450cc class in the Rally of Egypt, finishing second in the world ranking.

The unfortunate end of Dakar 2011 is still in mind. López was on the third place overall, but some miles before the finish line of the last stage the rear suspension broke down and he could only reach the fourth place after two stage victories.

Then, in Tunisia´s Rally last April, the Chilean was well placed overall when an accident cost him a long period of inactivity and time to recover from it.

Now, Chaleco is ready to race again, motivated to the highest point after his return to the races in Pharaons 2011 last October, his last test before the Dakar 2012 Argentina-Chile-Peru.