"Today the stage worked out quite well," GonÌ¤alves said. "I started out behind Sunderland and pushed hard in the beginning without making any navigation mistakes. I did it well and I caught him up at kilometre 60. We rode together at a good pace. Today is the first day of the marathon and I have the bike ready for tomorrow without having to touch anything. This proves that the HRC engineers are doing an excellent job. We will keep battling on to try and make up the one hour sanction that we received. There is still a long way to go."
KTM's Sam Sunderland still holds a 17 minute lead at the halfway point.
‰ÛÏI‰Ûªm happy. It was a lot harder a stage than we were expecting ‰ÛÒ there was a lot of navigation," Sunderland explained, "Yesterday when we saw the stage had been cut to 174 km, I was pretty happy because I had to open. It was really tricky, really difficult with a lot of vegetation ‰ÛÒ you couldn‰Ûªt see where the tracks were. It was really physical riding and then towards the end there we had a lot of mud, which always makes things interesting. All in all, it was ok.
"I think, sure, I lost some time today because it was a sandy stage and the guys from the back can see the tracks cleanly. I think where I made the mistakes, they should be able to find their way pretty well, but I don‰Ûªt think anybody has arrived yet which is a good sign.
"We‰Ûªll just keep ticking along. The bike‰Ûªs working well, the boys did a good job yesterday. I‰Ûªm really happy with everything on the bike. It‰Ûªs the first stage of the marathon day and the tyres are good so we‰Ûªll just keep ticking along. So far so good‰Û