Antofagasta, Chile - January 6th, 2010 - The fifth leg of the Dakar 2010 (670 Km of stages, all of which in Chile, from Copiapo to Antofagasta) proved to be a punishing proving ground for both men and machines. The victory of the official Aprilia rider is testimony to the extraordinary potential of the Italian twin and brings the team Giofil Aprilia up to second place in the overall classification.
Completing the route in 5 hours, 52 minutes and 40 seconds, Francisco Lopez finished ahead of the French riders Despres (KTM) and Fretigne (Yamaha) and stirred things up at the top of the leader board, where he is now in second place behind Despres; with just 37 minutes and 37 seconds separating him from the Frenchman. Lopez and his Aprilia RXV 4.5 now have a fighting chance of winning the exciting Dakar 2010.
Paolo Ceci, the Italian rider of team Giofil Aprilia, finished sixteenth this day, putting him 11th in the overall classification.
Francisco Lopez: "It was a very tough and very long special stage, which was very fast at first but then turned rough. After 130 kilometers I caught up with Casteu, overtook him and pulled away. I then aimed to reach Coma and Despres. When I saw that the Spaniard had been forced to stop by a problem with his tire, I turned up the wick until I had Despres in my sights. Winning in my home country is fantastic. Doing it with Aprilia in our first race is even more so."
Filippo Assirelli (Team manager): "Finally a win! We really needed this. After all the hard work and problems of these past few months and the first stages, this comes as an immense joy. Chaleco is a great rider and he's incredibly fast, and it was fantastic to see the support he has from the local population here in Chile. We have to keep our feet on the ground, though. We're here primarily to gain experience, and there's still a long way to go before the Dakar is over."
Aprilia is represented in the Dakar 2010 by four RXV 4.5s, the revolutionary twin cylinder enduro that has already demonstrated its potential in some of the world's greatest rally raids: with a class win and third place overall in the 2008 Pharaohs Rally, a class win in the 2009 Pharaohs Rally and two consecutive wins - in 2008 and 2009 - in the grueling "Race to the clouds", the Pikes Peak International Hillclimb disputed every summer among the highest peaks in Colorado.
Working in collaboration with Team Giofil - which already won the 450 cc class with Aprilia in the last two editions of the Pharaohs Rally - the twin cylinder RXV 4.5s are competing in the most famous and epic long distance race of all in the motorsports world. In addition to the Chilean Francisco Lopez and the Italian Paolo Ceci the other Aprilia riders are the Spaniard Gerard Farres, and the San Marino born Alex Zanotti.
The twin cylinder layout is a state of the art engineering solution that is unique in the off-road segment, and Aprilia is the world's only constructor to also use the layout in supermoto model, the SXV, which won the AMA Supermoto Championship in 2007 and 5 world Supermoto championships. Aprilia also has a V-twin motocross model, that is currently competing in the MX1 world championship. The compact and incredibly light 450 cc, 77? V-twin powering the Aprilia RXV is a concentrated technological tour de force encased in an ultra stiff tubular steel trellis frame with aluminum side plates, complemented by world class suspension components.
About Aprilia and Piaggio Group Americas
Aprilia world headquarters are in Noale (Venice, Italy). Founded in 1962, the company designs and manufactures motorcycles in Noale, with production facilities in Scorze. With 40 motorcycling world championship titles (34 road and 6 off-road) under its belt, Aprilia is the only European manufacturer to have a complete on- and off-road model portfolio, ranging from sporty scooters, innovative off-road bikes and tough adventure tourers to award-winning super sport bikes. For information on Aprilia's complete U.S. model line, visit the company's website at www.apriliausa.com.
In December 2004 Aprilia became part of the Piaggio Group, Europe's leading manufacturer of two wheelers and one of the world's most recognized and respected names in motorcycle and scooter production.