Dakar: Yamaha stage 1 report

Frétigné on the pace in Dakar prologue Frétigné charges through the snow storm to fifth. With his two-wheel drive Yamaha WR450F 2-Trac ideally suited to the snowy conditions, David Frétigné made an encouraging start to his first ever...

Frétigné on the pace in Dakar prologue
Frétigné charges through the snow storm to fifth.

With his two-wheel drive Yamaha WR450F 2-Trac ideally suited to the snowy conditions, David Frétigné made an encouraging start to his first ever Dakar, finishing in fifth place, 9.8 seconds behind the day's winner Matteo Graziani (KTM 450). Second was the reigning world rallye raid champion Cyril Despres (KTM) just ahead of last year's Dakar winner Richard Sainct (KTM), with Spaniard Esteve Pujol (KTM) fourth.

"It was a good feeling to be finally on the Dakar start line," commented the Yamaha Motor France star. "The conditions were extremely slippery -- it reminded me more of a French winter enduro than a rallye-raid. I started a little bit cautiously but then picked up the pace towards the end -- the two-wheel drive system giving me excellent grip out of the corners. The other aspect of the bike that pleased me was the fact that it felt really well balanced in full Dakar configuration. As it is snowing so much the organisers have allowed us to put our bikes in our trucks, rather than having to ride them all the way down to Narbonne. I can't say I'm sorry - it would have been really cold on the bike on the autoroute!"

With today's prologue being used to decide the start order, Frétigné will be fifth man away on tomorrow's special just outside Narbonne in the south of France - a tight 25km course that could well suit the two-wheel-drive 2-Trac. On completion of the special the competitors then have a long 563km liaison stage to take them to Castellon in Spain for their second overnight stop.

-yamaha-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Cyril Despres , Richard Sainct , David Fretigne