A solid performance by Yamaha riders Frans Verhoeven and Olivier Pain in the OiLybia Rally du Maroc last week, finishing 4th and 6th respectively. The main objective was to test the bikes in preparation to Dakar as the OiLybia rally is the final rally of the year. It is regarded by many as a dress rehearsal for the 2013 Dakar, starting in the first week of January in Peru, South Amercia.
The experienced Dutch rider Verhoeven had a satisfying debut on the Yamaha 450 four stroke as Team ‘Yamaha Netherlands Verhoeven’ was running for a podium spot during 2.000km race in the South-East regions of Morocco and finally managed to secure a solid fourth place. Yamaha Racing France rider Olivier Pain finished sixth overall after six days of racing in challenging conditions.
Frans Verhoeven was very pleased with his result in the OiLibya Rally du Maroc; “Our main goal here was to get to know the bike better and find a good setting under race conditions. Our speed is good and the engine feels great. My confidence has really grown during this week. It was the first time I could make use of the sophisticated engine management system and traction control, it is impressive and works really well. We where able to test various parts and now we have to adjust a few details. The suspension for example. But after this week of racing we know exactly what to do.” Verhoeven is very positive about the cooperation with his new team. “The cooperation with the team and mechanics went perfect, they understood and acted on my feedback and input. It was my first serious outing since the ’12 Dakar so it took me a couple of days to get in the rhythm of navigating on high speed. Maybe third was a bit too far for now. No doubt that I am back at the top. I’m happy with that, especially since we didn’t stop developing the bike. But even then we didn’t have the slightest hiccup with the bike. No technical issues, no crashes, nothing.”
David Frétigné (Yamaha WR450F YRC-Power-Team-Bike – Yamaha Racing France) who partnered up with Yamaha for this season again after a year of absence, had a tough race being injured but still managed to finish 17th.”It was the perfect race to get some action going after a few months of inactivity,” says David Frétigné. “Our new bike is evolving and shows promising developments. With two broken ribs, I had to be cautious, but it allowed me to focus on the navigation part, which has never been my strongest point and that is particularly difficult here in Morocco. “