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Repsol KTM Read For Paris To Dakar Rally - December 21st 2006

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    Two test days in Vivaro, Italy, have completed the preparation for the Lisbon Dakar Rally 2007.

    With their sights set on next 6 January, the Repsol KTM Team has concluded the pre-race tests for the African event. Two days focussed on preparing the engines, suspensions, etc. to have the bikes ready with all the definitive specifications for the race that will start in Portugal on Epiphany. The tests have served to finish-off the last technical aspects and to fine tune the reliability of the KTM 690 Rally machine that will be taking part this year at the Lisbon-Dakar Rally, the same machine Marc Coma used to clinch the Raid World Championship.

    The riders have covered thousands of kilometres to work in all directions needed to prepare a race as the Dakar, i.e. setting the bikes, but also practising navigation. Although the definitive test will be the Dakar Rally as such, Marc Coma considers the work carried out with his new motorbike as very positive, a fact proven by the five victories achieved in the five races he entered this year. "Everything has worked out perfectly well, it is actually impossible to do better. We have won wherever we have raced and the bike has always been working well. The driveability has improved a lot and that will be of really big help in such a long race as the Lisbon-Dakar."

    The test in VÝvaro has also been the first contact of Giovanni Sala with the new motorbike. After testing the KTM Repsol with the competition number 3, Gi˛ declared that "they have done a great job. I like the result a lot because the bike is now much more comfortable and that's something very important when you have so many kilometres ahead in a race like the Dakar. Although I still need to continue testing on the sand to have a more precise opinion, the agility and driveability are noteworthy and I'm very happy about it."

    The third member of the team, Jordi Viladoms, was not able to take part in the tests, because he is recovering from a little blow he had while testing with the team one week ago in the northern part of the country. The team doctor advised Viladoms to have three days of rest to fully recover, and therefore Viladoms did not take part in these last tests.

    To face this kind of race will full guarantees, the team has been working in three directions: First the physical and mental training, which is carried out by each rider with a specific physiotherapist; second the preparation of the motorbike, focussing on the behaviour and the reliability, carried out during the different tests with the KTM specialists; and finally navigation, which they have been working on with the Team Manager, Jordi Arcarons. "To prepare the race well, it is important not to forget any of the many aspects involved, and I'm in charge of helping them as much as possible with the navigation. We've carried out a lot of tests working with the road book, trying to pass specific GPS points and looking for different courses. It is an important work for the race, considering that the philosophy of the organisation is to make navigation prevail over speed".

    From now to January 6th, the only thing left to do will be to keep the physical shape and to wait patiently for the start of this adventure that was started for the first time by Thierry Sabine almost thirty years ago.