KTM Factory Team riders on Friday night were working together in the marathon stage bivouac to switch engines in Cyril Despres’ bike after technical difficulties held him up in Stage Seven


Team Manager Alex Doringer, in a phone interview on Friday evening said the KTM Factory riders were working hard in their overnight bivouac to switch the engine in Despres’ bike after he was held up with technical difficulties in Stage Seven.

The rally has entered the ‘marathon stage’ where riders can have no outside assistance from mechanics or support crews in either Friday’s Stage Seven or Saturday’s long Stage Eight. But it is possible for them to work on the bikes themselves and it is within regulations to switch engines between two of the team’s competing bikes. Doringer said Despres, Kurt Caselli and Ruben Faria were working together to remove the engine while the other riders in the KTM factory teams were working on one of the support bikes in preparation for making the switch. Despres is himself a skilled mechanic and his teammates also have mechanical skills.

Doringer:”The regulations allow for the engine to be changed over if it is done by the riders themselves. This is a real team effort and they are all pitching to help out. Cyril will start tomorrow with a 15-minute penalty but he will also get some advantage as one of the pro riders and will be allowed to start closer to the front than his finish in today’s stage allowed. He will probably be starting at around 26th position,” he said.