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Dylan Ferrandis resets expectations with solid fourth-place finish in 2023 SuperMotocross opener Dakar Rally 2023, Stage 10: Sebastien Loeb continues late push with third consecutive win

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After a disappointing 2022 season in the Monster Energy Supercross and Lucas Oil Pro Motocross seasons, Dylan Ferrandis is ready to change expectations by claiming he will be the first 450 champion at the 2023 Supermotocross World Championship.

With 250 positions behind in 2020, Ferrandis has climbed as high as he can. He won the 2019 250 West division in Supercross and finished second in the outdoor series. The following year, he won both championships, and if there had been a Super Motocross World Championship at the time, he would have had to take first place to walk away with a $500,000 guaranteed prize.

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What he earned was arguably more valuable as he secured a ride in the 450 class. In that first season at the top level, Ferrandis showed more consistency. With no wins to his credit, he was in the top five four times and was in the top 10 11 times. He finished second to Eli Tomac in the second race at Houston and finished seventh in the points standings. This encouraged the rider and when the outdoor season began, he was on a mission.

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In 2021, Ferrandis was on the podium in 12 rounds and won the overall standings en route to the championship in half of those attempts.

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Last year was not nearly as successful. Ferrandis missed races in both series and finished outside the top 10.

But now it’s time for Ferrandis to return for the 2023 supermotocross season.

“Every season is a reboot,” Ferrandis told NBC Sports the day before the first round of the 31-race combined season. “You start the first race with everyone at the same point, no one has points in the championship, so everyone is on the same wavelength. So of course it’s a reboot, but you’re also learning from last season. I plan not to repeat the same mistake and want to get better and the new Yamaha bike is a big step forward for me and I am sure it will help me a lot to get better this season.”

On the first lap of Anaheim 1, Ferrandis didn’t think about that reset. He completed lap 1 in the middle of the group, finishing ninth out of 22 competitors. He didn’t work his way to leadership. On a rough track that was quickly rutted by week-long rain, he meticulously advanced, finishing seventh on lap 4 of 21 and fifth on lap 10. With six laps remaining, he moved up to fourth place.

One of the reasons for his accurate walk across the field was probably two injuries he suffered in 2022.

MORE: Dylan Ferrandis ranked fourth in NBC SuperMotocross Power.

“They were two different injuries,” Ferrandis said. “It wasn’t all bad in Supercross. It was a bruised bone. I didn’t need surgery, but I couldn’t ride a bike. I was absent for two weeks, and then the championship ended.

“And then in motocross, I sprained and broke my left thumb. I could not skate with such an injury and needed surgery. Two unfortunate injuries cost me two championships. This is a sport. It happened.”

Those missed races and poor points performance may have dented his confidence, but riders have an uncanny knack for putting the past behind them. After finishing with a best seventh place finish in two mid-season motocross races, Ferrandis gave himself a month to recover. He didn’t wait for the start of the Supercross season.

Ferrandis placed third in the open event at the Motocross of Nations and was part of the French team that finished second in the Nations results, finishing fourth and sixth.

“I competed in the Motocross of Nations,” Ferrandis said. “That was my last race and it wasn’t that long ago and I did well so I still know I can do it.

“It’s not like I’ve been away for a whole year.

A solid test session in October gave him renewed confidence. and now the reset is complete. Ferrandis has set his sights on the 2023 SuperMotocross title, and he keeps his 2021 Pro Motocross title in mind to erase any negative thoughts about last year.

Sébastien Loeb remained dominant in round 10 of the 2023 Dakar Rally with a third win in a row, but Nasser Al Attiyah still controls the overall standings in the best car category.

The Bahrain Raid Xtreme driver cut Al-Attiyah’s lead by nearly 6 minutes with a No. 201 Prodrive Hunter fourth stage victory, winning the short 114 km race in 1 hour 48 minutes 32 seconds over Mattias Ekstrom and Lucas Moraes.

“It was a good stage for us,” said Loeb, the legendary world rallycross champion, who is aiming for his first victory in the Dakar Rally in his sixth start. “No mistakes, no problems. Only the dunes are more than 100 kilometers long. It was quite demanding, but the feel of the car was good. We were first on the track, but we had motorcycle tracks. It was good; no problem”.

The Frenchman was third overall but still 1 hour 37 minutes and 23 seconds behind Al-Attiyah.

With four stages remaining, Al-Attiyah is 1:21:34 ahead of Moraes after the four-time Qatari champion finished fourth on stage 10 (5m45s behind Loeb).

“The special was short but tough,” Al-Attiyah said. “We have reached the Empty Quarter. It was a good day to check things out for tomorrow. We know what we need. I am glad. I have good feelings for the car. We didn’t make a single mistake. I didn’t work too hard today. I didn’t want to risk it. Marathon stage tomorrow.

Critical Stage 11 – with a marathon 275km special (more than double that of Stage 10) – looms ahead of the Dakar Rally in what could be the last opportunity for a big move in the standings. Now the event has moved to the Empty Quarter section, dominated by dunes and sand.

In the bike category, American rider Skyler Howes dropped to second overall behind Kevin Benavidez by 1 minute 29 seconds to finish 18th in stage 10. due to a slight fall. But Hawes, who is trying to become the second US driver to win the Dakar, is optimistic about his Husqvarna Factory 450 Rally heading into the marathon stage.

“There were 100% dunes today,” Howes said. “We went into two small, tiny valleys to check out some checkpoints, but otherwise some really technical dunes. A short stage, but still demanding. I think the times will be really close today. I just wanted to go through this stage today and prepare for the marathon stage. In such short stages, you can definitely lose, but you don’t have to try to win.”

In the T3 category, Seth Quintero won stage 10 and played some time for overall leader Guillaume de Mévius, who finished in 12th place, 9 minutes and 30 seconds back. AJ Jones, Quintero’s Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team teammate, finished sixth on stage 10 and second overall, 7 minutes 48 seconds back from the lead.

“Not a bad day for us,” de Mevius said. “We started the stage with dune riding. It was quite a scary moment, but some members of the public helped us get back on track, so thanks to them. We had to change the wheel because we damaged the tire. We lost quite a bit of time. It was quite difficult to find my rhythm on the dunes. It was very different from the start of the race, now it will be that way for a few days.”

There has been a change in overall leadership in the truck category after Ales Loprais was implicated in an incident that killed an Italian viewer. Loprais was in the lead on stage 9 but withdrew from the rally in support of local authorities after learning of the death upon his return to the bivouac on Tuesday evening.

NBC Sports’ daily coverage of the 2023 Dakar Rally at 6:30 pm ET continues tonight on Peacock NBC Sports.

NEXT: The marathon stage will cover 426 kilometers (275 hours in the special edition) from the Puck to the Empty Quarter and extreme endurance territory on sand of all colors. Avoiding trouble is essential, as there are no trucks or mechanics at the bivouac.

Here are the stage winners and the first three places overall in each category (along with notable US players) after Stage 10 of the 2023 Dakar Rally:

The machine

Stage 10 winner: Sebastien Loeb (France), Bahrain Raid Xtreme, 1:48:32

Overall Rating:


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