As expected yesterday, KTM made an official announcement today regarding the participation of Marc Coma in the 2013 Dakar Rally, and simply stated that the three-time winner of the race will be unable to compete due to injuries he sustained to his shoulder in the Rally of Morocco. The news leaves KTM’s Cyril Despres as the runaway favorite for winning this upcoming edition of The Dakar.
“We worked really hard with the doctors and the physiotherapists right up until the last minute but we have to be realistic,” said a disappointed Marc Coma. “One of the muscles in my shoulder is still giving me problems and there is a lack of movement. This is the logical consequence and we must be honest and clear about the situation.”
“While we are disappointed that he is unable to ride, the health and welfare of our factory riders is the most important consideration. If he is not 100 percent fit, it is better for him to sit out the 2013 rally,” added KTM Team Manager Alex Doringer.
Knowing that an injured rider could affect their Dakar plans, KTM has a replacement rider already registered and in place for the factory team, and accordingly American Kurt Caselli will ride Coma’s KTM 450 Rally at the upcoming event.
Caselli, the current AMA National Hare and Hound Champion, said “It has always been a goal in my career to compete in the Dakar. There would be no way possible for me to achieve this without the ongoing support of KTM. To be able to race the greatest off road race in the world aboard the best bike in the world is truly a blessing. This is not only a milestone in my career but also in my life.”
Expected to be at the start in Lima, Coma will now concentrate his efforts on regaining complete fitness ahead of the rest of the 2013 season, and is looking forward to the Dakar Rally in 2014.