Husqvarna Motorcycles confirmed their official rider line-up for the "Rockstar Energy Husqvarna 2018 Dakar Rally" team. Following an impressive season, FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion Pablo Quintanilla will be joined by Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing team partner Andrew Short, with the duo set to tackle the two-week-long adventure aboard the all-new FR 450 Rally.
Making history for Husqvarna Motorcycles by successfully defending his Rallies World Championship title at the series finale in Morocco, Pablo Quintanilla will be launching an attack for the top step of the podium at the 2018 Dakar Rally, in January. Less than 50 days before the start of the big event in Lima, Peru, the rally star is confident of a strong performance in the dunes and endless offroad trails of South America.
"I’m really looking forward to the coming Dakar," Quintanilla said. "It’s been a really good season for me, I’m really motivated to do well at the biggest race of the year. We’ve all worked hard to improve in every little aspect and I’m really confident in my team and what I’m capable of. The key of the race for me is to know when to push and when to ride cautiously."
"This is something that comes with experience and it takes time to understand when it’s the right moment to attack a stage. We’ve also made a big step forward with the new FR 450 Rally. The updated bike is much lighter, easier to handle and gives you an impressive feeling of safety when going fast. We’ve been working hard to develop this machine for two years and I’m really satisfied with the end result. I enjoy racing it and I’m confident that with this bike and such a strong team we can fight for victory in January," Quintanilla added.
Enjoying a steady debut aboard the FR 450 Rally at the final round of the 2017 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship in Morocco, Andrew Short is all-set for his first Dakar. Enjoying several busy months of testing and training, the acclaimed US racer will be a strong asset for the 2018 team this January. Focused on gathering further rally experience Andrew will be looking for a strong and mistake-free performance all the way to the finish line in Córdoba, Argentina.
"I’m really excited to be heading towards my first Dakar," Short said. "The team gave me an awesome opportunity to take a step forward in my career and I can’t thank them enough for that. The Morocco Rally was a big learning experience for me and since then I’ve not stopped working. We’ve also had some good days of testing and navigation training with Pablo and it was a blast. For my first Dakar in January the main goal is to avoid mistakes and continue improving my skills in navigation."
"One of the most exciting things with rally racing is the fact that you’re in the zone the whole time. Since you never know what’s around the next turn, the whole experience turns into one big adventure. It’s a good feeling and something I’m addicted to now. I want to take little steps and get better with the goal to continue improving my speed and finish my first Dakar without any issues."
Competing as teammate to Pablo Quintanilla during 2017, Frenchman Pela Renet continues to make progress as he recovers from the injuries sustained during the Atacama Rally in August. Requiring surgery on his neck and left shoulder, two-time Enduro World Champion Renet is focused on making the best recovery possible.
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