"I got a bit emotional..."
"A winding special with lots of breaking and accelerating. 180 km of this was a great way to get the ball rolling! I took some time to find my bearings and ease into my pace. The first special is always tough when you come from cold Europe and you get thrown into the thick of things, so I'm happy to get good feelings. I got a bit emotional at the start, what with starting a new adventure... It was a difficult year, with the decision to move to Yamaha, and then having to prepare the motorcycle, working with the entire team... So when D-Day comes, it feels good to be racing again."
Important to hitch myself to the right wagon..."
"I'm over the moon because I had lots of fun, my Sherco didn't miss a beat and it was a real pleasure to ride on this type of course, where it almost rides itself. In short: fun, speed and a nice bonus at the finish with this result! It was important for me to do well from the beginning in order to hitch myself to the right wagon for upcoming stages.
"I'll try to keep it up"
"I'm really happy with the first stage. At the beginning I had some trouble easing into the race due to a slight problem with the suspension, but afterwards everything went smoothly. We'll work on it to ride even faster tomorrow. I'll try to keep up this pace in the next few stages."
"I took things easy"
"First days at the Dakar are never easy. It's difficult to find and maintain your pace straight away. So I took things fairly easy and, as the day wore on, I got the right feelings and found the right pace. All things considered, I'm happy because it's important to clear the first stage without running into trouble, and that's just what I did."
"Everything's going to plan for me and Honda"
"It was quite difficult for a first special, with a very slippery and tricky 180 km course, especially on the mountain sides: if you fall there, you're going all the way down! So I decided to take it easy at the beginning, but little by little I eased into the pace and gained some confidence. At the end I accelerated and posted the fifth best time on the finish line. I'm happy because my teammate Joan Barreda won the stage, which means I'll start just behind him tomorrow and we'll be able to work as a team. So everything's going to plan for me and Honda."