690 Rally Replica KTM
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“My bike will have a restrictor but I’ll adapt”

He was the sport’s revelation in 2001 when he finished 3rd on the Tunisian Rally and won the Moroccan Rally on a Honda 650. Cyril Despres made an exemplary ascension on the Dakar, first with BMW then with the KTM team. After finishing 3rd in 2003, then 2nd in 2004, the Frenchman manufactured his first victory in 2005, in pulling away from the field on the Atar-Atar stage. The death of Fabrizio Meoni, the following day, gave him that much more reason to race for the win for the KTM Gauloises team, which was already reeling from the passing away of Richard Sainct a few months earlier. Hampered by a dislocated shoulder during the 2006 Dakar, the mano-a-mano, which had been going for several years with Marc Coma turned to the advantage of the Frenchman on an umpteenth development in 2007. The crash, the retirement of the Spaniard on the second to last stage, left a clear path for Despres, following several occasions where his chance for the win was compromised during the rally. On the podium at Lake Rose he raised the winner’s trophy for a second time! The two-time winner, now an expert when it comes to the constraints of the rally, however suffered quite a few upsets on the big 2009 South American loop that he eventually finished in second position after another fierce battle with Marc Coma. Serious blows has seriously upset his chances of a podium finish at the beginning of the rally but his fighting spirit and his will never to give up helped him climb up the standings. Despite the restrictor that he will be forced to have on his 690 KTM to balance the performances with the 450cc bikes, Despres counts on that will and on his technical skills to fight for his chances on the 2010 Dakar: “I know that on the Dakar, many parameters play a part when you’re aiming at the highest step of the podium. So indeed my bike will have a restrictor but I’ll adapt to that because it’s one of the necessary qualities you need in off-road rallies. And anyhow that certainly won’t take away my experience, my will, my physical preparation. The envy remains the same”.

Dakar start photos on line: www.maindruphoto.com