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Valentino Rossi Announces Participation In The 2012 Dakar

  Posted at 01:00:00 PM
  File under  Dakar Race Racing
  Author: Mike Werner
  Location: Normandy, France

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We know that Valentino Rossi Open link in a new window loves riding motorcycles, he's the best MotoGP rider out there, but we also know he loves riding off road. Sometimes even a bit too much like last year when he crashed riding his motocross. He's still suffering from his crash.

Throw into the hat the fact that he's fanatical about rally racing, having driven in several rallies (in a car), and managed quite well, the following news is no surprise.

Valentino Rossi Motocross
Valentino Rossi racing in motocross in Italy

But that hasn't stopped him from wanting to race his motorcycle in a dream race. For years, apparently Rossi has wanted to race the famous and notorious Dakar Open link in a new window rally, but until last year, his Yamaha contract has forbidden him to do so.

But that has changed. In a recent interview with La Repubblica Open link in a new window he stated that he negotiated with Ducati for permission to race the 2012 Dakar. Since Ducati has no off-road bike, he has gotten permission to use a KTM Open link in a new window 450 Rally Replica. Since the Dakar is raced during the MotoGP holidays, there is no scheduling conflict.

Rossi and his temporary KTM 450 Rally
Rossi and his temporary KTM 450 Rally

Rossi has approached Cyril Despres Open link in a new window, a multiple winner of the Dakar, to train him. So far he has had 6 sessions with Despres in the Pyrenees mountains, and 2 sessions somewhere in the Sahara desert on a KTM motocross.

Despres and Rossi
Cyril Despres and Valentino Rossi in Africa training

I had a quick chat with Despres over the phone, and he stated that Rossi is very fast on the KTM, and currently the only problem is riding in deep sand, but the training program will take that into account. If he masters the deep sand, according to Despres, Rossi stands a good chance of making the podium at the finish.

The remainder of the training will take place in November, though Rossi has planned a few solo sessions on the 450 in between MotoGP races.

More news to follow.

Via: La Repubblica

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