Dakar Stage 7 – Lopez takes first stage win for Aprilia

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Factory Aprilia rider Francisco Lopez claimed his first stage win of the 2011 Dakar to consolidate his third position in the overall standings. The Chilean rider stared the day in sixth position and despite the dust was able to catch and pass his rivals to win the stage by 2m 21s.

He said: “The first part of the stage was very fast, and it took me some time to overtake Svitko. Then, I reached Coma and we continued the road together. He slowed down at the end; there were lots of fesh-fesh. The next stages of the Dakar will be decisive… I’m waiting for the right moment to attack.”

Second place went to Cyril Despres onboard his factory KTM who as a result closed to within 7m 24s of race leader Marc Coma who finished the stage in third place.

Despres said: “Today was one of the best days of motocross-type racing of my entire life. Not only was it a beautiful stage, it was also a fantastic one to ride – a really great day, even in terms of results.”

Coma was less enthusiastic and descried the day as nice, but demanding. He said: “I suffered in the first part, because I was behind Ruben Faria and I was getting a lot of his dust; it was hard to pass. But in the last part, the sand dunes, I could ride at my own pace,”

Stage Seven Results
1, Francisco (Chaleco) Lopez, Chile, Aprilia, 3:29.45
2, Cyril Despres, Andorra, KTM, at 2:21
3, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM, at 3:45
4, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha, at 9:14
5, Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM, 10:44

Standings after Stage Six
1, Marc Coma, Spain, KTM, 26:13:50
2, Cyril Despres, Andorra, KTM, at 7:24
3, Francisco (Chaleco) Lopez, Chile, Aprilia, 18:27
4, Helder Rodrigues, Portugal, Yamaha, at 33:04
5, Ruben Faria, Portugal, KTM at 40:53

Michael Guy

By Michael Guy

Sports Editor, former 250-racer and adventure rider