Victory on the first stage of the 2014 Dakar, between San Luis and San Rafael went to Joan Barreda with countryman Marc Coma second at 0’37 and Cyril Despres (Yamaha Factory Racing) third at 1’40. Teammate Michael Metge finished in 8th place (at 4’33) with Olivier Pain 16th (at 6’47) and Frans Verhoeven 18th (at 6’58).
“When your alarm clock goes off at 02.40 in the morning you know the Dakar has really started! And in true Dakar tradition that was followed by 404 kilometres of liaison, before we got to the 180 kilometre special. Opening the piste it took me a while to find my pace and then about 50 kilometres from the end, coming out of a canyon, I saw a dust trail behind me and thought to myself, ‘ah yes, Marc is back’ and accelerated a little. In the great scheme of things the finishing position isn’t of much importance, but it is good to know that I’m up to speed and overall it was a good day for myself and my team, on our first Dakar special together.”
“To be really honest I was a little bit nervous this morning sitting on the start line waiting to be flagged away. Happily I quickly settled down and not long after that really start to enjoy myself over the fast, twisty tracks. Hats off to ‘The Boss’, he really knows how to set up a motorcycle. I think in general we tend to ride with the suspension too firm, but with Cyril’s settings the bike felt both comfortable and safe. In the end I got past three riders and am pretty happy with how the whole day turned out.”