Starting their 2020 Dakar Rally campaign in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team have successfully completed the event’s opening stage. With all riders focused on ensuring trouble-free rides, Adrien Van Beveren claimed the team’s highest result, placing 10th aboard his WR450F Rally.
Affording all riders no time to ease their way into the 2020 running of the event, stage one of this year’s Dakar Rally served up a long and challenging day in the saddle. Prioritising safety over speed, all riders completed the day without problems while truly experiencing the varied nature of the Middle Eastern terrain for the first time.
Expecting the day’s stage to feature much more sand, Adrien Van Beveren nevertheless successfully completed the 319-kilometre special to post the 10th fastest time. The 20th rider to start the stage, Adrien was running as high as third before losing some time in the dust of riders ahead of him. In finishing 10th he will start stage two in an advantageous position.
Going into the event’s opening stage with a clear plan of not pushing too hard, Xavier de Soultrait executed a solid performance to finish 13th and place just three positions behind Van Beveren. Similarly to his teammate, Xavier struggled with the dust raised by riders ahead, causing him to lose valuable minutes on the latter half of the special.
As the rider that opened much of stage one, Franco Caimi ended the first day of Dakar competition both a little frustrated with his 17th place final result but also pleased with his navigation. Fully focused on his navigation while also adjusting to the varied terrain he ended the stage looking forward to his day two starting position.
Learning much from his first day of Dakar Rally competition, Jamie McCanney made it to the finish with little in the way of troubles. Feeling the sense of occasion at the start of the day he soon settled down to produce the day’s 34th fastest time.
Stage two of the 2020 Dakar Rally will challenge the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team with a 367-kilometre special from Al Wajh to Neom. In addition, it is also the event’s first super marathon stage, which limits mechanical repair time to just 10 minutes per competitor.
Adrien Van Beveren – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team
10th Stage 1
It certainly wasn’t the type of terrain I was expecting today, we had a lot of stones during all the stage. I was a little tense at the start of the day but then I started to find my rhythm and felt pretty good. I had some issues with dust from other riders, so I had to ride slower than I wanted and to not take any risks in the stones. I think I was riding in dust for around 70-kilometres, so it really was not easy today. It’s good to have finished ok today, with my bike in a good way, and to be safe. Now I’ll focus on the stages ahead.
Franco Caimi – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team
17th Stage 1
Everything is good, but it was a tough first stage, a real demanding start to Dakar 2020. I had to open the majority of the stage today, so I had to be really focused on my navigation. It’s not easy to push hard when you are so focused on navigation, but it’s been good for my confidence knowing that I can open a stage like I did. I lost a little time at the start of the stage in the dust of the riders ahead of me, but generally it’s been a good day. No problems and good to get a real feeling for the terrain here. For tomorrow’s stage I have a much better starting position, so I’m looking forward to that. It’s great to have started this Dakar.
Jamie McCanney – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team
34th Stage 1
I was certainly nervous this morning, starting my first ever Dakar. It was a tricky day with the navigation for me, I just didn’t want to make any mistakes, so I took my time. I really tried to study and learn the road book as much as I could. I think I might pick up one penalty, but I enjoyed the day. I feel like it was successful as I didn’t have any major problems. Now I know a little better what to expect I’m looking forward to the days ahead.
Xavier De Soultrait – Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team
13th Stage 1
It’s great to have started the 20202 Dakar and to have completed this first challenging stage with no troubles. It’s been a long day, and an early start this morning, but all has been good. I’m pleased with my day – at the refuelling stop I was close to the riders at the front. Today was all about doing things well, no mistakes and not super-fast. As everyone knows this race is long and to get through the opening day with no problems is important. I did that, so I am happy. Over the coming days I will push more and keep up a good rhythm in this new terrain.
Alexandre Kowalski – Yamaha Europe Off-Road Racing Manager
It has been a really sensible start to this year’s Dakar Rally from all of the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team riders. The opening stage of any Dakar is always a tricky one and this year it was much longer and more challenging than in previous years. The riders were all feeling a little tense this morning, but this is normal. Now they have all truly discovered what it is like to ride on this new terrain they are all much more settled. Today’s stage had a lot less sand than some were expecting, with a lot of stones. All went well, but Adrien and Xavier struggled with the dust of the riders ahead of them. This is not unexpected on the first day, but importantly they didn’t take any risks. Tomorrow’s super marathon stage will also see the riders given their road books just 10 minutes before the start of the stage, so without question everyone in the team is now fully immersed in the Dakar Rally and looking forward to the stages ahead.
Dakar Rally 2020
Stage 1 Provisional Classification
1. Toby Price (KTM) 3:19:33
2. Ricky Brabec (Honda) 3:21:38 + 0:02:05
3. Matthias Walkner (KTM) 3:22:13 + 0:02:40
4. Kevin Benavides (Honda) 3:24:04 + 0:04:31
5. Sam Sunderland (KTM) 3:24:48 + 0:05:15
6. Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 3:25:09 + 0:05:36
10. Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha) 3:29:25 + 0:09:52
13. Xavier de Soultrait (Yamaha) 3:39:15 + 0:10:42
17. Franco Caimi (Yamaha) 3:35:36 + 0:16:03
34. Jamie McCanney (Yamaha) 3:56:13 + 0:36:40
Dakar Rally 2020
Stage 1 | Jan 5 | Jeddah to Al Wajh | Total: 752 km | SS:319 km
Stage 2 | Jan 6 | Al Wajh to Neom | Total: 393 km | SS:367km
Stage 3 | Jan 7 | Neom to Neom | Total: 504km | SS: 427 km
Stage 4 | Jan 8 | Neom to Al Ula | Total: 672 km | SS: 453km
Stage 5 | Jan 9 | Al Ula to Ha’il | Total: 564 km | SS: 353km
Stage 6 | Jan 10 | Ha’il to Riyadh | Total: 830 km | SS:477km
Rest Day | Jan 11 | Riyadh
Stage 7 | Jan 12 | Riyadh to Wadi Al Dawasir | Total: 741 km | SS: 546 km
Stage 8 | Jan 13 | Wadi Al Dawasir to Wadi Al Dawasir |Total: 716 km | SS: 477 km
Stage 9 | Jan 14 | Wadi Al Dawasir to Haradh | Total: 886 km | SS: 410 km
Stage 10 | Jan 15 | Haradh to Shubaytah | Total: 608 km | SS: 534 km
Stage 11 | Jan 16 | Shubaytah to Haradh | Total: 744 km | SS: 379 km
Stage 12 | Jan 17 | Haradh to Qiddiya | Total: 447 km | SS:374 km