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Ténéré World Raid Team Show Fighting Spirit in Stage 3 at the TDC

Ténéré World Raid Team Show Fighting Spirit in Stage 3 at the TDC

The Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team battled hard and overcame adversity during a challenging third stage at the Tunisia Desert Challenge. Alessandro Botturi continued his fine form and powered to second to take the overall lead, while his teammate Pol Tarres heroically fought back from being taken out by another competitor to finish in seventh.

Stage 3 of the TDC was the toughest yet, physically and mentally, for the team, with 350km of some of the toughest sections encountered so far, including long stretches of energy-sapping sand dunes and a temperature of over 30 degrees Celsius. The team was wary of the challenge created by these dunes because their production Ténéré 700 World Raid bikes are heavier than the specialised 450cc enduro bikes they are competing against, which is a significant disadvantage when taking on such terrain. The team and bikes rose to the challenge despite suffering more bad luck, with both riders showing their skill and determination in equal measure to finish in the top seven.

Botturi continued his fantastic run during the rally, which saw the Italian rider finish on the podium in the first two stages. He followed up his third in the Prologue and second during Stage 2 with another commanding ride to P2. Right from the off, the 46-year-old meant business, settling into his rhythm and navigating the tricky special superbly. Even some of the most extensive dunes the experienced rider had come across during his illustrious career could not slow him down.

Man and machine worked in perfect unison as Botturi used the Ténéré’s extra power to his advantage through the soft sand and crossed the finish line after 6h 28’ 10”, precisely four minutes behind the stage winner. This result propelled him to the top of the overall classification with a time of 12h 06’ 19” and saw him open up an advantage of 9 minutes and 21 seconds over the rider in second.


His teammate Tarres was looking to bounce back after a minor crash in Saturday’s Stage 2 as he continues to gain experience during his maiden rally. Unfortunately for the 26-year-old, luck was not on his side. He was accidentally taken out by a quad bike after 45km and sent flying from his bike, luckily escaping any significant injury. As he did the day before, the Spaniard showed how tough he is by picking himself up, dusting himself down, and remounting, but his navigation equipment was damaged beyond repair. Showing the true heroic rally spirit, he did not let this put him off, sensationally managing to navigate over 300km of the Tunisian Desert by following other competitors and using the extra torque of his 700cc twin-cylinder Ténéré to make up for the lost time.

Despite the sweltering heat, damage to his bike, and having to ride in the dust trail of his rivals not to get lost, Tarres mounted an incredible fightback, mastering the tricky dunes to finish the stage in seventh with a time of 7h 55’ 01”. His bravery and tenacity were rewarded by moving up eight places in the overall classification to ninth, with a total time of 14h 54’ 06”.

Next up for the Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team, in partnership with Riders for Health, is Monday’s Stage 4 from Matous – Ksar Ghilane, which will see the riders take on similar terrain as today with even more tricky Tunisian dunes over the 300km course.

Alessandro Botturi – P2 (6h 28’ 10”)

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team

“Today was another good day! It was the best stage yet for me, I had no navigation issues, and the bike handled everything thrown at it.  It was a very physical and tiring stage, with over 50km of dunes, which with a heavier bike compared to the 450cc machines, was a real test for the Ténéré 700 World Raid, but it passed with flying colours. To finish the stage second and be first in the overall classification with a production bike shows just what an incredible machine it is. Honestly, we have not come here to win but to develop the bike and enjoy the TDC, so to see my name at the top of the standings is a nice bonus, and I am already looking forward to tomorrow’s stage.”

Pol Tarres - P7 (7h 55’ 01”)

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team

“This stage was hard for me. I was riding alongside a quad at the 45km mark after a strong start, but they didn’t see me and cut across my line and hit me, causing me to crash. Not only did this make me lose time, but unfortunately, my navigation equipment was completely destroyed in the accident. I got back on the bike, which had some damage but was rideable, and tried to follow the others to avoid getting lost. After the fuel stop, I was able to get behind some cars, and I pushed hard through the dunes and managed to finish in seventh. I am pleased with this result, but it could have been a lot better without the crash. I had never ridden dunes as big as the ones we came across today, but my Ténéré was incredible, and I was able to ride it like an MX bike, which was fun. It is heavier than the 450cc bikes, but we also have extra power and that helped me make up the time. I am looking forward to Stage 4, but I hope to have better luck tomorrow.”

Manuel Lucchese

Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team - Team Manager

“To be honest, I did not expect us to lead the TDC! We are using this race to develop the bike and enjoy the adventure, so I compliment Alessandro, who is having a great race. I cannot praise Pol enough; he has had some bad luck in the last two stages, but he keeps going no matter what and never gives up. Honestly, today was a great result for him, as he is now ninth in the overall standings, which is incredible when you consider this is his first-ever rally. We are looking forward to tomorrow, although again, the stage has a lot of dunes, which is never easy with a heavier bike compared to the 450cc machines. Luckily, we have two superb riders and the Yamaha Ténéré World Raid bikes are performing perfectly, so we are delighted and confident going into Stage 4.”