The final stage of the Andalucia Rally kept up the same level of intrigue and combativeness that the race had maintained throughout the week, particularly on Saturday’s 210-kilometre stage, where Kevin Benavides took the final finish-line and the overall victory in the race. Benavides, who held the field in check in today’s stage, conceding just 2’48” to the day’s winner, confirmed his position at head of the competition leaderboard. The Monster Energy Honda Team rider ends the race, leaving the nearest overall second-place rider trailing almost eight minutes behind.
Joan Barreda, who also put on a fine display of pace, finished in fifth place, gaining one position on the final day. The Spaniard won one of the stages and shows his speed on the track. José Ignacio Cornejo, the Chilean rider from Iquique posted a twelfth final position and Ricky Brabec took fourteenth. Both stressed the difficulties they had experienced adjusting to the particular Andalusian terrain.
The team, which so far in 2020, has achieved victories in the Dakar, Sonora Rally, Vegas to Reno and Andalucia Rally, will continue with further preparations ahead of the 2021 Dakar Rally.
We finished the rally and I’m really excited to finish the rally without hitting the ground, first off. Second, I’m happy to board the plane without an injury and get back home and train in the desert. I’m looking forward to that. We had fun out here at the Andalucia Rally, but the style of riding just wasn’t my cup of tea. The roads were fun. Well, I’m not sure if they were fun to race, but they were fun to ride. The whole team is in good shape and is going home healthy. Now, we are all going home to start working towards the main goal: the Dakar.
Today was a good day. I came out with a lot of dust ahead and I waited for better conditions to be able to overtake, which I did. We hadn’t raced since last January, and here, although it was a bit particular, things went well and I was able to ride calmly. It was good to get a feel of things and I finished with good sensations on the bike in the preparations towards the 2021 Dakar. The team is working well together and this gives us peace of mind and satisfaction.
Today I went out intending to ride a stage with good pace, focusing on not making any mistakes. My elbow bothered me a bit, but as the day went on, it didn't hurt so much. I think I rode a good final stage to close this race week. I'm very happy with this win: I needed it too. It’s a victory that rewards all the effort we have made. Now, we are going to continue with all the preparations to reach the 2021 Dakar in even better conditions. Thank you very much to the entire team for an exceptional job done every single day and for keeping the bike running perfectly throughout the race.
It’s a satisfying finish. We have given our maximum and we have reached the final kilometre, having completed the entire route and without having fallen. This was the main objective. I am also happy with the potential we have shown in the race even though it has been quite difficult for us to adapt to it due to the type of waypoints and such particular regulations. There are two important months left to try to stay on the right track that we have taken in recent weeks and be as prepared as possible for the next Dakar.
We have finished the Andalucia Rally which has been very good for us because COVID-19 has made it very difficult to organize any races. The organization has worked hard for this and is to be congratulated. From the team point of view, we came here to prepare for the Dakar. All the riders finished, without falling or other problems and for that reason we are very satisfied. Thanks to the whole team for all the work done. It went very well as a test; we are working hard and we hope to get to the Dakar after having improved a lot as an even stronger team. We want to do our best in the next edition of the Dakar Rally, the goal is to win again and for this we have four very good riders and a team that is compact and works closely together. Japan is also helping us a lot in this endeavour.