Pablo Quintanilla wins the Morocco Rally 2021
The Rallye du Maroc concludes with an excellent result for the Monster Energy
Honda Team. On the final day of the rally Pablo Quintanilla saw off his rivals
to claim both stage and race victories.
Monster Energy Honda Team has scooped an excellent result in the Rallye du
Maroc. After only five months with his new outfit, Chilean rider Pablo
Quintanilla clinched his first race victory aboard the Honda CRF450 RALLY. The
occasion also marks Quintanilla’s maiden win in Morocco as he gets back to
winning ways after the 2019 Atacama Rally. The team tally now lies at three
stage wins in Morocco. Honda’s last win in Morocco was achieved by Paulo
Gonçalves in the 2013 edition.
The team’s main aim in participating in this fourth race of the FIM
Cross-Country Rally World Championship was to clock up as high a mileage as
possible in the desert for its four riders ahead of Monster Energy Honda Team’s
forthcoming participation in the Dakar Rally. The squad was able to confirm that
both the high level of the riders and the Honda CRF450 RALLY bike performance
continue along the positive trajectory of recent seasons.
The 166-kilometre final special stage went quickly for most of the riders
still in contention for victory at this Rallye du Maroc. David Castera, race
director, had designed a stage with very little navigation. With little movement
of wind, the dust hanging in the air accompanied the riders throughout the
journey, making it impossible for riders starting from the rear to make up time.
Pablo Quintanilla started in a fine position from which to attack Mathias
Walkner’s lead. The Monster Energy Honda Team rider held a sufficiently strong
pace to allow him to fulfil this main mission and capture the final stage of the
Rallye du Maroc. Ricky Brabec was unable to whittle down the gap separating him
from his rivals in the general standings and, in spite of finishing runner-up
today, narrowly missed out on a podium place.
Joan Barreda was also able to battle his way to the finish, allowing him to
go home with a sweet sensation. Sixth on the day and eleventh in the general
standings, with the Spaniard highlighting the noteworthy teamwork carried out by
the squad in recent days in Morocco. After yesterday’s fall, Chilean rider
José Ignacio Cornejo went out today to complete the course, attempting to pull
back as much as his physical condition would permit, but nevertheless citing
good sensations on the bike. In the end, it was tenth overall place for the
rider from Iquique.
The next event to feature Monster Energy Honda Team participation will be at
the 2022 Dakar Rally, set to take place in Saudi Arabia from the 1-14th of
STAGE: 2nd FINAL STANDINGS: 4th
I'm happy to finish another rally, it's been good training for the Dakar. I'm
also very excited for the Honda team to be on top of the podium. Unfortunately,
we couldn't have two Honda riders on the final podium. It takes a lot of guts to
win a stage and it takes a lot of courage to open a stage: only three riders
have opened this rally, and I think we opened the most difficult stages. I'm
really looking forward to the Dakar and this was just training. I made a couple
of mistakes and missed out on the podium on the last day, but at least we'll get
home safe and sound and get back to training to be ready for the Dakar.
José Ignacio Cornejo
STAGE: 16th FINAL STANDINGS: 10th
I'm happy to finish another Rally du Maroc, which is always very hard and
demanding. The overall result is not what I would have liked, but we are happy
because we kept a good pace and the bike was fantastic. The whole team is
working very committed to this project and you can see a very important solidity
in the team. It's positive as training for the Dakar. Today I was able to go
faster than yesterday and that's good to reach the usual race pace.
STAGE: 1st FINAL STANDINGS: WINNER
I am very happy with the victory. It was a very difficult week and I want to
thank the whole team for the great job they did. It was fantastic for us.
Personally, I felt very comfortable, I was riding with great pace, with good
navigation and that's very good for my confidence. I am also very motivated for
the next objective, which is the Dakar. We are going to take a short break,
rest, recharge our batteries and then we will concentrate on the Dakar.
STAGE: 6th FINAL STANDINGS: 11th
I'm happy with the pace we've shown all week here in Morocco. The truth is that
the times have been very tight. It's also true that in the end it's a race that
is decided on small details. But let's keep the positives: the pace, getting
back to the desert, being able to cover a lot of kilometres... to be able to get
to the Dakar, which is our goal.
The Rally du Maroc ended with a very easy final stage. When we started this
rally we knew it would be very tough. We were counting on this last stage to be
decisive, but everything changed with the shortened route: no dunes and a lot of
dust on the track. Whoever started behind had no chance. Pablo had it in his
head that he had to attack to win the race. In the end, it went as planned and
he finished first in the final standings. We wanted Ricky on the podium, but
with the change of the stage we saw that it was impossible and in the end he
finished fourth. Nacho Cornejo crashed yesterday and ended up finishing tenth.
It doesn't describe the good race he had ridden until yesterday, but he managed
to finish the rally, which was the main objective. Joan had a good rally, I
think he was the strongest rider in the rally, but he made a navigation error in
the third stage and, with the penalty, he paid dearly, finishing eleventh. To
wrap up, I would just like to emphasise that this was a race that we didn't have
to win, but it was a way of bringing everyone together: riders, bikes and team.
We wanted to finish the rally with all the riders, we didn't want any crashes,
we just wanted to work on the navigation. That's why we leave here very happy,
with the team and with the bike. Now we are going to focus on working, working
and getting to the Dakar and trying to win it for the third year in a row.
2021 season Wednesday, October 13th 2021
Stage Round WORLD4 Rallye du Maroc 2021
Final Standings Rallye du Maroc 2021
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 QUINTANILLA Pablo CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 16:26'51
2 WALKNER Matthias AUT Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +1'59
3 SANDERS Daniel AUS Gas Gas Factory Team Gas Gas +5'27
4 BRABEC Ricky USA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +7'14
5 VAN BEVEREN Adrien FRA Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team Yamaha +18'01
6 BENAVIDES Luciano ARG Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Racing Husqvarna
7 BENAVIDES Kevin ARG Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +39'38
8 RODRIGUES Joaquim POR Hero Motorsports Team Rally Hero +41'03
9 SHORT Andrew USA Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team Yamaha +41'53
10 CORNEJO José Ignacio CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +45'19
11 BARREDA Joan SPA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +48'12