Many problems as in Dakar 1998, EDI Orioli he never had, and a crack of basement – caused by a stone (!) that has transfixed the carbon protection – He put an end to the race of champion friulano. And the long-awaited return of BMW, that after so many investments and victories with old twins boxer, began developing a single derived from BMW-Rotax of the F650.
A motorcycle, that for reasons of image was fielded in unofficial form, Although it is clear that behind the beautiful prototypes used there is the will of the German House of return to be a leader in the African Marathon.
But the Dakar is no longer what it once, When experience and above all sense of direction and navigation made the difference.
"With the introduction of GPS (the satellite receiver for orientation) now there you lose more – confirms Oberoi on his return to Italy – and basically traveling continuously to throttle. I saw riders pull from morning until night as damned, and I am surprised how the various Rome, Haydon, Cox are still in one piece. With the GPS provided by the Organization this year we had ten way-point.
Too many, so do not lose anyone. I asked for the next edition down to three, because otherwise it completely alters the philosophy of this race. I'm not saying delete the GPS, all in all it is an extra security, but you should not reduce the Dakar to a motocross race».
If you hadn't soon retired you could round off?
«For sure. At the end with a little calm and experience I could easily climb on the podium. Unfortunately we at BMW we had problems with GPS (provided by the Organization) Since day one and, After trying all the possible connections, We tried to replace it with the version intended for cars. Nothing to do. On the BMW is triggered electrical interference that we haven't yet included.
Then a stone is passed between tank and engine protection plate and he cracked the carter. I noticed the control stamp, When I saw the boot in dirty oil. I will have at least 80 km at full throttle and oil was up. Stopping the engine, no longer divided».
After this first experience with the single-cylinder BMW, thou wilt ask German technicians for next year?
«A little’ more power, and especially a chassis with better weight distribution centered and a slightly more limber uploaded. Even the setting is to fix because I couldn't move forward as I would have liked. A streamlined tank solves the problem-rebbe. Besides, these were things we already knew before leaving, but you have not had time to develop new superstructures».
But you can win the Dakar with a Thumper?
«No, at least until the twins will be entrusted to riders like Peterhansel. If cylinder prototypes next year will no longer be allowed at the start, things will change. So I think in BMW and in its development programme. And participate already this year was a correct choice, so we already made the field. And only those who have participated in the Dakar can understand how this is important».
With Peterhansel you could still fight, even if everything had worked the best?
"No, Why drive a twin as the Yamaha means you always have a margin to handle. On the sand the BMW does not exceed 150 km/h, and to preserve a little’ the mechanics wanted a small margin, traveling on 140 km/h. With Yamaha, Peterhansel already guada-PLE had traveling on 160; with that bike I tried to touch 197 km/h and, just to give an idea, with the official Cagiva arri-mass early to touch 208 km/h. Today these speeds do not serve almost more, but a little’ more power is always handy. With the single cylinder this margin does not exist, traveling constantly close to the limit of the bike and this is not good even for mechanics. Surely they are the lightest bikes: I guess my BMW weights on 170/175 kg without fuel and the tanks contain only 45 liters. But the weight saving compared to the two cylinders is not enough to make a real difference».
And compared to other singles co-me the KTM?
"We still lack a little something, but it's not a big deal. My BMW its first participation 80% already judging you and I think this is a big result. Unfortunately in Dakar there are arrived, but the bike is valid».
You have raced with the version with progressive linkage to shock absorber?
"Yes and it was the right choice, as for the Showa fork prepared by Parker (those of Suzuki cross forks 50 mm, Ed) and to the shock of the artisan French Donére, that will be even less comfortable but it is definitely superior to traditional ones».
What's this about?
«And’ a cushion that instead of having within the usual range of lamellas has a very original hydraulic system, with valves and floats involved oil passages. The most important difference is in better traction offering. Also use Peterhansel and Mitsubishi officials. And’ complicated to develop but, Once you have found the right calibration, rocks».
What impression do you have of this renewed Paris-Dakar?
«Auriol is a guarantee, He doesn't lack experience and worked fine. But there were no problems with incredible timekeepers; in all my investments were never so approximate. Showed a superficiality disarming. Finally I missed the Algeria; paths such as those we will find more and not Morocco to cross it's not fun».
Text by Giuseppe Gori for motorcycling