Dakar: Repsol teams stage 11 report

All members of the Repsol KTM Team shocked by Fabrizio Meoni's death The eleventh stage of the 2005 Dakar has been tragically marked by the death of the Italian rider Fabrizio Meoni. All members of the Repsol KTM team wish to express their...

All members of the Repsol KTM Team shocked by Fabrizio Meoni's death

The eleventh stage of the 2005 Dakar has been tragically marked by the death of the Italian rider Fabrizio Meoni. All members of the Repsol KTM team wish to express their deep sorrow after hearing the news. Fabrizio, was not only an extraordinary rider, he was also, for all of them, a great rival and friend. His death has been a shock for all of them and from Kiffa, end of the stage, they want to send their affection to Meoni's family.

As regards the sporting results the race finished with no big news. Marc Coma and Isidre Esteve are second and third in the bikes overall. Peterhansel, Alphand and Roma are first, second and fifth in cars.

Jordi Arcarons: "It's a very sad day for all of us. We lost a dear friend, just as Jose Manuel Perez who left us yesterday. I can't find the words to explain how we feel now. I've talked to the riders and they have told me what happened, and the worst thing is that Fabrizio is not with us anymore. Everybody liked him a lot because he was everybody's friend and had great charisma. Great person and great rider.

As regards the accident, it's been in an area that wasn't dangerous in theory. He took a bump that threw him off the bike without any chance to react. It seems that the bike broke his neck during the fall. Marc and Isidre are deeply shocked and they've told me that they don't feel like riding. But they don't think that retiring from the race would be a solution. Tomorrow they'll be able to rest and spend a calm day. The organisation says that the race goes on. There will be a homage for Fabrizio, but for him, the race must go on even if the riders have no clear head to really open the throttle. The solution we proposed was to take them by plane to Bamako. I think that it's the best solution and the organisers have to make an effort to make it all work".

Marc Coma: "These are very sad, very hard moments for all of us. We've experienced the disgrace from very close and now we have to get over it. We were riding all together in the leading group. We had got lost and Despres took the lead to find the way. Meoni followed him and a couple of hundred metres later he fell. When we arrived we already saw that his condition was very bad.

We asked the organisation for a day of reflection and mourning, because it would be very hard for us to get back on the bikes. They did not really agree at the beginning but they finally accepted. I think that it's the most reasonable thing to do".

Isidre Esteve: "As everybody can imagine that this has been a very bad day for all of us. It's been an incredible accident because we sometimes are really fast in the desert without taking any risk. But today we were all riding together, slowly because navigation was very difficult. Fabrizio fell right in front of me and I was sure that nothing serious had happened. Unfortunately it hasn't been like that. We asked for a rest day as a sign of respect towards Fabrizio and also for ourselves because we're not in condition to race. Eventually everybody understood".

Giovanni Sala: "I knew Fabrizio very well and I was part of his team for many years. What happened is a terrible tragedy, although knowing him, I'm sure that he wouldn't want the motorbike riders to quit the race, he would want them to get to Dakar"

Nani Roma: "It's a very hard day because Fabrizio was a great friend, not only a rival. It's really difficult to understand what has happened. I actually resist myself to believe it and it seems incredible to me. He fell in an area that wasn't fast and in this moment you think that he died doing what he liked most in life. But the hardest part is for his family. This Dakar is not being especially demanding and nice. The specials aren't good and they're taking us through places that are worth nothing and were navigation isn't the main issue, only loads of hours and camel grass. We know where we're going, but sometimes those who organise the race go a bit too far".

The motorbike riders not compete in today's stage 12

-repsol-

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Fabrizio Meoni , Giovanni Sala , Nani Roma , Marc Coma , Jordi Arcarons