Husqvarna Motorcycles established another milestone in their distinguished history of racing when factory riders Ruben Faria and Pela Renet, and Husqvarna-supported rider Jacopo Cerutti were on the starting line for the Rally of Morocco on Monday. The rally is the final round of the 2015 FIM World Cross-Country Rallies Championship.
Faria, a veteran of many editions of the renowned Dakar Rally, finished in eleventh place on the team’s first day out in a loop around Zagora in the south of Morocco. He is currently 15 minutes 10 second behind stage winner Joan Barreda after a relatively long opening stage that included 330 km of timed special.
The Husqvarna team are essentially in Morocco to test the FR 450 Rally bike and to put in as many kilometres of competitive track time as possible as part of their preparation for the Dakar Rally 2016 in January.
The first day out proved to be an eventful one for Faria, who later reported: “I started the Morocco Rally today with my new Husqvarna and we came here to train and to test material, but things happen when you least expect it. I had a fall in the middle of the special in a very stony section and I have some pain in my shoulder and left leg.”
Stefan Huber, team coordinator, confirmed later that the Portuguese rider, although bruised, did not sustain any more serious injuries in his small crash.
The Husqvarna Factory Team are also fielding French rider Pela Renet, a proven enduro sport champion who is making his debut ride in Morocco and who will also compete in the Dakar Rally. Renet, essentially here as a training exercise and to become familiar with rally navigation skills, finished 24th on his opening day. He missed the final four rounds of the 2015 E2 championship through a shoulder injury and is still not 100% fit. Despite the injury, he still accrued enough points to finish third overall in the competitive E2 class when it wrapped up last weekend.
Pela Renet: “My goal today was to reach the finish so that challenge is accomplished. I really enjoyed riding but at the moment I still can’t ride 100% because my shoulder hurts a little. I also missed one waypoint. So I will continue this week with the goal to discover rally raid and the road book.”
Young Husqvarna-supported Cerutti can also be very satisfied at finishing 14th overall in the first stage. He took sixth place in the Sardegna Rally Race in the summer, which was also part of FIM World Championship series.
Stage Two takes riders on a loop of Du Draa over a total distance of 365 km, of which 224 km is timed special.
Stage One Results
Loop of Zagora – 133 km liaison; 330 km timed special
1. Joan Barreda (ESP) Honda, three hours 30 minutes 45
2. Toby Price (AUS) KTM, + 01m 41 sec
3. Helder Rodrigues (POR) Yamaha, + 2.51
4. Antoine Meo (FRA) KTM, + 4.39
5. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI) KTM, +5.40
11. Ruben Faria (POR) Husqvarna, +15.10
12. Jacopo Cerutti (ITA) Husqvarna, + 28.28
24. Pela Renet (FRA) Husqvarna, +48.50