2012 Dakar: Team Aprilia Preview

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2012 Dakar Prep

In 2010 Dakar, the only other machine to make it to the podium besides the two KTMs ridden by Cyril Despres and Pal Anders Ullevalseter was an Aprilia RXV piloted by Chilean rider Francisco “Chaleco” Lopez.

And although Chaleco He didn’t make it to the podium in 2011, he finished a much-respected fourth.

And for 2012 Dakar, Chaleco Lopez will once again represent Team Aprilia, as he will contest for around 5,200 miles from Mar Del Plata, Argentina, to Lima, Peru, from Jan. 1 through 15.

And just like last year, Chaleco’s “water carrier” will be the French-Malian Alain Duclos; this “bodyguard” of Chaleco put in an impressive debut performance in 2011 Dakar, taking the top spot for fastest private rider.

There were some worries earlier in the year following Chaleco Lopez’s crash in the Tunisia Rally, but the 36-year-old has fully recovered, and is motivated to face the toughest motorcycle race in the world.

Speaking of the machines that will enter 2012 Dakar, Team Aprilia reports: “The duo will take the new version of the Aprilia RXV 4.5 into the South American deserts specially prepared by Aprilia Racing that made this new bike faster and lighter.

“Many other technical changes were applied to adapt the bike for rally raid use, most of all concerning reliability, a very important matter in order to complete the 8391 kilometers of the race that will cross Argentina, Chile and Peru, where riders will reach the finish line in Lima next January 15.”

Two other Aprilia RXV motorcycles will also be present in 2012 Dakar – the bikes of Team Giofil piloted by the 37-year-old Frenchman Arnaud Besnier and his fellow countryman Edouard Boulanger, who recently had a great performance as a privateer in the Pharaons Rally 2011.

Following the official start ceremony Saturday in Plaza Colon, Mar del Plata, the Aprilia riders will begin the first competitve stage fo 35 miles times and 474 miles of connecting roads to arrive at the first bivouac located in Santa Rosa de La Pampa.