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Dakar 2009: What they said - Motobiker after Stage 8.

Cyril Despres: "Around fifteen kilometers from the finishing line, a donkey suddenly shot out from behind a bunch of cacti. I think it was a lucky escape, for both him and me. With Coma and Lopez we’ve been sharing the first places all season. Today, we set off quickly and all three of us attacked. The tracks were quite slippery and that’s why you need technical skill to be quick on them and strength too, to keep control of the bike. It’s been another good day for me. That’s the third one now. What was good for us, the three leading riders, is that we are fighting to gain back minutes on each other. We’re separated by quite a bit in the general standings, but it’s not all over yet. This is where your physical condition starts to matter."

David Fretigne: "I thought I’d be ok at the start of the stage with my 450cc but the tracks were very slippery and I couldn’t manage to pick up speed again. The bike kept skidding and I even came off once. I wanted to attack after that, but I got lost after CP1. I must have done 3 or 4 kilometers too much. It was really difficult to recover after that but I didn’t want to take too many risks. If you want a podium place on the Dakar, there is no room for error. You need to be present every single day. I don’t have much experience in navigating and I’m aware of that. When there are small off-track sections like today, I often come unstuck. But for the moment, it’s not too serious."

Marc Coma: "It was a very difficult special stage, almost like ice-skating. The tracks were very slippery. I had to be careful on the bends, and avoid the slightest mistake with the brakes. But I didn’t have any problems at all today and that’s the main thing. Now we’ve got to tackle the Atacama. The hardest part of the race is about to start. There are still a good few days left. I’m going to carry on taking it day by day and trying to avoid problems."

2009/01/11 | 18:39 CET | Editor: MR/HS/ASO

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