Hero MotoSports secures their second Top 10 finish at the Dakar

- Oriol Mena delivers another stellar performance to finish 9th
- Comeback man Joaquim Rodrigues finishes in Top 20 with 17th position.

It was a bright and sunny morning as the final stage of the Dakar 2019 went underway in Pisco. The short 112km stage offered one final round on the dunes of Pisco.

The dune-heavy 112 km special kept the leaders on their toes, including those with a comfortable lead, as well as providing competitors who still want to move up the general classification with the perfect terrain for aggressive riding and big gaps.

For Hero MotoSports Team Rally, it marked a glorious day as the team secured its second back to back Top 10 finish at the Dakar Rally and a 100% arrival without any technical failure 3rd time in a row. On a technical level, the bikes have performed with absolute reliability, giving the riders supreme confidence and an extra edge, even over some of the other more experienced factory teams.
Today’s stage was all about bringing the bike home safely across the finish line at Pisco, which was achieved perfectly by Joaquim Rodrigues and Oriol Mena as they finished the stage in 12th and 17th positions respectively. At an overall level, today’s stage results, place Oriol Mena at 9th position and JRod at 17th position in the final standings of the Dakar 2019, bringing in a Top 10 and a Top 20 finish in the toughest rally race on the planet.

It was an overall superlative show put on by Spaniard Oriol Mena throughout the Dakar 2019. His sporting acumen and superb temperament was at the display once again as he got through the stages in a near flawless fashion while some of the more experienced and exalted peers faltered now and then. After this performance, Mena’s reputation will progress leaps and bounds from being the “Best Rookie of the Dakar” last year to being a “Hero of the Dakar” this year.
Joaquim Rodrigues ensured that his comeback after the crash at the Dakar last year, became a memorable one, as he put on a gritty show, fighting his old injuries and battling the new challenges that this edition of the Dakar threw at him, not once bowing down or giving up. His performance in this edition, reinforces the status that he enjoys amongst his peers in the team and the motorsport community as a force to reckon with in the near future.

The Dakar Rally came to a final halt in the seaside district of Magdalena in Lima for the triumphal parade and celebrations that marked the end of what has been one of the toughest editions of the Dakar.
Oriol Mena (Comp No: 7): "What a Dakar this has been. Lots of ups and downs, even till the very last stage it was quite tough. I am very happy with my performance overall and happy to bring in another Dakar for Hero MotoSports Team Rally. I think it was a better Dakar for me this time. Some amazing stages and terrains we went through. Really happy that I could finish in the top 10 again. My team and my bike has supported me throughout and I want to thank all of them from my heart. This moment is very emotional for me."
Joaquim Rodrigues (Comp No: 27): "This is an emotional moment for me. I wanted to come here and finish what I could not last year. I started this Dakar and finished it in the same special that I crashed in last year, Isn’t that something. I am so relieved to finish this time and win this battle of my life. I want to thank all of my team as they always stayed behind me, even when I was at my lowest and there were chances that I may be resigned to a wheelchair. Now I will go home and get surgery done on my back and then start my recovery again to get into a shape where I was before the crash. It’s a long process but I am very motivated now to get through this for my family, my team and my supporters."
Wolfgang Fischer, Team Manager, Hero MotoSports Team Rally: "We are very happy with our performance in this Dakar. We all knew it would be a tough Dakar, but it turned out to be a few notches above our expectations. This is probably was also the most competitive Dakar we have seen in recent times as the skill level is going up every year and the competition is quite tight in the top 20 - 30 riders as it is. Considering all this, our result is very good as both our riders did extremely well to come out in top 10 and top 20 standings. It was an overall much better Dakar for us as we committed fewer navigation mistakes, had no issues with the bike and put up a more solid performance in general. Oriol Mena has been great this year and another top 10 finish at the Dakar speaks volumes of his skills and capabilities. Joaquim was making a comeback this year, and we are really elated to see him finish the Dakar as well. His spirited show, battling the back injury, and the tough stages, inspired us all to race our own limits every day. Santosh, unfortunately, could not finish this Dakar, but we are quite relieved to know that his injuries are not major and we should see him back in action soon. Thanks to all our families, friends and supporters for all their wishes and being with us all through our journey."
Dr. Markus Braunsperger, CTO, Hero MotoCorp Ltd. and Head of Hero MotoSports: "My congratulations to the entire team in this superlative effort and for putting India and Hero on a high pedestal in the world of rally sport once again. This result is a testimony of the hard work, the team has been putting into the good improvement of the bike and rider trainings over the last couple of years with everyone aligned towards a shared goal.  
MotoSports for us is a platform to test and develop high performance vehicles in the harshest conditions available. We are already seeing the first results of this with the launch of XPulse, that shares our learning and DNA from MotoSports and there will be more to follow. For now, we relish these results and start the preparation for our next season with an aim to improve our performance benchmarks in all aspects of the sport and products."

Final Stage 10 results
1. Toby Price, KTM Factory Racing, KTM, 01h 14m 01s
2. Ignacio Jose Cornejo, Honda Factory Racing, Honda, +02m 21s
3. Matthias Walkner, KTM Factory Racing, KTM, +02m 38s...
12. Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +13m 55s...
17. Oriol Mena, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +16m 21s...
Final Overall Standings after Stage 10
1. Toby Price, KTM Factory Racing, KTM, 35h 57m 16s
2. Matthias Walkner, KTM Factory Racing, KTM, +09m 13s
3. Sam Sunderland, KTM Factory Racing, KTM, +13m 34s...
9. Oriol Mena, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +02h 08m 41s...
17. Joaquim Rodrigues, Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Hero MotoSports, +05h 21m 19s...

Press Release,

Marie-France Estenave pour MFE-Live.com

Actus Raid - Dakar