Monster Energy Honda Team has scooped an excellent result in the Rallye du Maroc. After only five months with his new outfit, Chilean rider Quintanilla clinched his first race victory aboard the Honda CRF450 RALLY.
The occasion also marks Quintanilla’s maiden win in Morocco as he gets back to winning ways after the 2019 Atacama Rally. The team tally now lies at three stage wins in Morocco. Honda’s last win in Morocco was achieved by Paulo Gonçalves in the 2013 edition.
The team’s main aim in participating in this fourth race of the FIM Cross-Country Rally World Championship was to clock up as high a mileage as possible in the desert for its four riders ahead of Monster Energy Honda Team’s forthcoming participation in the Dakar Rally.
The squad was able to confirm that both the high level of the riders and the Honda CRF450 RALLY bike performance continue along the positive trajectory of recent seasons.
The 166-kilometre final special stage went quickly for most of the riders still in contention for victory at this Rallye du Maroc.
The race director, David Castera, had designed a stage with very little navigation. With little movement of wind, the dust hanging in the air accompanied the riders throughout the journey, making it impossible for riders starting from the rear to make up time.
Quintanilla started in a fine position from which to attack the ledad enjoyed by Austrian KTM rider Mathias Walkner.
The Monster Energy Honda Team rider held a sufficiently strong pace to allow him to fulfil this main mission and capture the final stage of the Rallye du Maroc.
American Ricky Brabec was unable to whittle down the gap separating him from his rivals in the general standings and, in spite of finishing runner-up today, narrowly missed out on a podium place.
Spain’s Joan Barreda was also able to battle his way to the finish, allowing him to go home with a sweet sensation. Sixth on the day and eleventh in the general standings, with the Spaniard highlighting the noteworthy teamwork carried out by the squad in recent days in Morocco.
After falling the previous day, Chilean rider José Ignacio Cornejo went out on the final day to complete the course, attempting to pull back as much as his physical condition would permit, but nevertheless citing good sensations on the bike.
In the end, it was tenth overall place for the rider from Iquique.
The next event to feature Monster Energy Honda Team participation will be at the 2022 Dakar Rally, set to take place in Saudi Arabia from January 1.
“I am very happy with the victory,” said Quintanilla
“It was a very difficult week and I want to thank the whole team for the great job they did. It was fantastic for us. Personally, I felt very comfortable, I was riding with great pace, with good navigation and that’s very good for my confidence. I am also very motivated for the next objective, which is the Dakar.
“We are going to take a short break, rest, recharge our batteries and then we will concentrate on the Dakar.”
Photo courtesy Honda
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Stage 5 Results
Final Standings Rallye du Maroc 2021