The bureaucracy preceding the race is finally over and everything is set for the big show of the Dakar Argentina-Chile-Peru, which will start tomorrow with the first of fourteen stages. Team Aprilia will relive the adventure with last year´s amazing performance of Francisco “Chaleco” López, who has finished third and fourth in the last two editions.
“Chaleco” has totally recovered from the accident in Tunisia´s Rally and find himself motivated to face this new adventure. The Chilean rider will be accompanied by his “bodyguard” Alain Duclos, who will participate in the Dakar with Aprilia for the second time after his outstanding performance as last year´s fastest private rider!
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 15th.
There will be also two other Aprilia RXV in the race, supported by the structure of Team Giofil: the French rider of thirty seven years old Arnaud Besnier that jumps into this extreme challenge, and also Edouard Boulanger, Dakar Challenge´s winner who will make his dream come true. The French rider living in Italy earned the free registration fees to participate in the Dakar after his great performance as private rider in Pharaons Rally 2011.
Tomorrow the Dakar 2012 will have its official start ceremony in Plaza Colón in Mar del Plata, in front of the Casino Municipal, where all competitors will greet the start and the first competitive stage will be a 57 km timed section with 763 of road connection to arrive to the first bivouac located in Santa Rosa de La Pampa.
APRILIA RACING RIDERS
FRANCISCO “CHALECO” LOPEZ
Aprilia Racing Team member Francisco Lopez was last year's fastest private rider and is now looking to win the 2012 Dakar Rally.
Francisco López was born September 15th, 1975 in Curicó, the southern center region of Chile. At the age of four, he starts riding a motorcycle, motivated by his father, Renato Lopez, a very brave motocross rider. López not only inherits the talent from his father, but also the nickname “Chaleco”, which means “sweater”, coming from the fact that his dad raced with a sweater knitted by his mother Ana María.
He started in rally raid in Por las Pampas in 2005, where he obtained a stage victory, showing its strength in this discipline. In 2007, he was crowned World Champion in 450 cc class with Honda. This result took him straight to take the place of an official KTM rider in 2007.
“Chaleco” became an official rider of Team Giofil Aprilia Racing in Pharaons Rally 2009 and took the Aprilia bike made in Noale, Italy, to the third place in Dakar 2010. That same year, López won the Rally of Tunisia and took the second place overall and first in 450cc class in the Rally of Egypt, finishing second in the world ranking.
The unfortunate end of Dakar 2011 is still in mind. López was on the third place overall, but some miles before the finish line of the last stage the rear suspension broke down and he could only reach the fourth place after two stage victories. Then, in Tunisia´s Rally last April, the Chilean was well placed overall when an accident cost him a long period of inactivity and time to recover from it.
Now, Chaleco is ready to race again, motivated to the highest point after his return to the races in Pharaons 2011 last October, his last test before the Dakar 2012 Argentina-Chile-Peru.
Alain Duclos is ready for the challenge of the 2012 Dakar Rally teamed up with Francisco Lopez and Aprilia Racing.
Alain Duclos was born on June 25th, 1971 in Bamako, Mali, from a French father and Malian mother. At the beginning of the 80´s, and as part of a very passionate family, he discovered the two wheel universe but he was still too young, so he decided to dedicate himself to BMX.
In 1982, the Dakar´s passage through Korghoro light the fire inside of him and he promised himself that he was going to participate on it once.
He practiced Enduro for years until he finally took part of the race in 2000, in the Dakar Paris-Dakar-Cairo. Duclos has always been improving results, he took the 14th place in 2005 and 7th in 2006, where he was the fastest private rider.
Also 6th in 2010, before starting with Team Aprilia, he alternated great stage results and technical problems during the last Dakar, where he was an outstanding support for the 4th position of Francisco López. Duclos arrives to the hardest race in the world highly motivated to take his new Aprilia RXV 4.5 to the top.