The Dakar wrapped up its first week of racing, with the riders, in the usual tradition, now able to put their feet up. Monster Energy Honda Team continue with their preparations ahead of the final week, with chances of clinching top results still wide open.
With the race now at its halfway point, riders can enjoy some downtime and a chance to take stock of the intense, event-filled first week. The team endeavoured to be at the top of the leaderboard, but suffered some navigation setbacks which have hampered some of the riders’ overall positions.
Pablo Quintanilla is currently the best of the Monster Energy Honda Team bunch, fifth in the general standings, 15’43 behind the overall race leader. With one week to go, the Chilean rider is well-placed to stage an attack on the rally leadership in the coming stages.
With two stage wins and holding on to his position, Joan Barreda lies in ninth place, 26 minutes behind the leader. A manageable gap, although it remains to be seen how the Spanish rider’s shoulder injury – sustained on stage 5 – will stand up.
José Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Cornejo and Ricky Brabec are currently among the 2022 Dakar top fifteen, although with their timesheets a little too compromised to be able to close the gap on the frontrunners. Yet both riders know that the Dakar often affords the opportunity to claw back big differences from their rivals. Monster Energy Honda Team riders will be hoping that the second week of racing will be characterised by demanding navigation, that could offer the chance to whittle down time and make up places.
The 402-kilometre special stage tomorrow will see riders having to contend with 100 kilometres of dunes. It will be sand and more sand from the get-go and will be heavy on the navigation. This could prove the key moment to attack and climb positions in the general standings, but the parallel tracks might cause some headaches for even the most determined riders.
Provisional Standings after the first week - RallyGP-
|1||Sunderland Sam||3||GBR||Gas Gas Factory Team||Gas Gas||19:55'59|
|2||Walkner Matthias||52||AUT||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+00:02'39|
|3||Sanders Daniel||4||AUS||Gas Gas Factory Team||Gas Gas||+00:05'35|
|4||Van Beveren Adrien||42||FRA||Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team||Yamaha||+00:07'43|
|5||Quintanilla Pablo||7||CHI||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+00:15'43|
|6||Santolino Lorenzo||15||SPA||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||Sherco||+00:18'22|
|7||Svitko Stefan||142||SLO||Slovnaft Rally Team||KTM||+00:24'29|
|8||Benavides Kevin||1||ARG||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+00:24'56|
|10||Short Andrew||29||USA||Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team||Yamaha||+00:38'12|
|12||Cornejo José Ignacio||11||CHI||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+00:46'54|
|14||Brabec Ricky||2||USA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+00:49'20|
|Dakar in Saudi||From 2020|
|Dakar 2020 winner||Ricky Brabec (Honda)|
|Dakar 2021 winner||Kevin Benavides (Honda)|