Monster Energy Honda Team’s Joan Barreda is itching to land the 2018 Dakar Rally and get the monkey off his back. Today, during Stage 2 in the sands of Peru, Barreda got in his first scratch.
The Spanish Monster Energy Honda Rally team rider scored his first stage victory of the 2018 Dakar Rally and the 20th Dakar Rally stage win of his career by plowing through the dunes in the lengthy loop stage that began and ended in Pisco. Barreda carded a time of 2 hours, 55 minutes and 44 seconds, besting stage runner-up Adrien Van Beveren of the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team by almost 3 minutes. If he can win four more stages, Barreda can tie former Dakar Rally Champion Hubert Auriol for fourth on the all-time Dakar Rally motorcycle stage winner’s list.
Today’s dunes presented an additional challenge for the motorcycle riders after having been roughed up by their four-wheeled counterparts, which started the stage ahead of the bikes. Barreda didn’t seem to be bothered as he took command of the stage and scored the win, which combined with a disappointing seventh-place finish by Stage 1 winner and defending Dakar Rally Champion Sam Sunderland, vaulted Barreda into the overall rally lead.
“A hard, tough stage with quite a confusing part at the beginning where we had to keep our concentration,” Barreda said. “I jumped a dune hard, and I really felt that in my hand over the next few kilometers. The final part was very fast, and I was able to pick up quite a bit of space, and in the end it turned out well. Tomorrow we have to open the track, and everything changes again, but we always knew that it would be that way, and we just have to keep on as best we can.”
Barreda now holds a 2-minute, 54-second advantage over Van Beveren, who has thus far been the most consistent rider, with two stage runner-ups out of two. Former FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Champion Matthias Walkner finished third today and moved from sixth to third in the overall standings, 4 minutes and 24 seconds out of the lead.
American riders Ricky Brabec and Andrew Short pretty much maintained their placings in the overall standings with similar finishes to their stage 1 efforts. Brabec finished 12th, 7 minutes and 19 seconds off of teammate Barreda, and is now 11th overall, while Short finished 25th on his Rockstar Energy Huqvarna and moved up two positions to 25th overall. Despite still running outside the top 10, Brabec said he had a pretty good day during Stage 2.
“We had some great dunes, but the big difference is that we had the cars ahead of us,” Brabec said. “I kept finding people circling around, lost, looking for the right track, but for me it was a good day, and I think that it was a fine result for the team too. We arrived at the bivouac well, and I saw that Joan had won and is now leader, so congratulations to him. We will try to continue like this until the end.”
Stage three will send the riders along a 504-kilometer route from Pisco to San Juan de Marcona, with a timed special stage distance of 296 kilometers.
2018 Dakar Rally
Stage 2, Pisco, Peru to Pisco, Peru
Results: January 7, 2018 (Stage 2 of 14)
1. Joan Barreda (SPA)-Monster Energy Honda Team / 2 hours, 56 minutes, 44 seconds
2. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA)-Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team / +00:02:54
3. Matthias Walkner (AUT)-Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team / +00:04:24
4. Michael Metge (FRA)-Monster Energy Honda Team / +00:04:39
5. Kevin Benavides (ARG)-Monster Energy Honda Team / +00:05:43
6. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI)-Husqvarna Factory Rally Team / +00:05:45
7. Sam Sunderland (GBR)-Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team / +00:06:01
8. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA)-Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team / +00:06:12
9. Franco Caimi (ARG)-Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team / +00:06:36
10. Toby Price (AUS)-Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team / +00:06:40
12. Ricky Brabec (USA)-Monster Energy Honda Team / +00:07:19
25. Andrew Short (USA)-Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Rally Team / +00:21:31
2018 Dakar Rally Overall Standings (after 2 of 14 stages)
1. Joan Barreda (SPA)-Monster Energy Honda Team / 3 hours, 18 minutes, 36 seconds
2. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA)-Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team / +00:02:30
3. Matthias Walkner (AUT)-Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team / +00:04:50
4. Sam Sunderland (GBR)-Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team / +00:05:04
5. Pablo Quintanilla (CHI)-Husqvarna Factory Rally Team / +00:05:44
6. Xavier de Soultrait (FRA)-Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team / +00:06:22
7. Kevin Benavides (ARG)-Monster Energy Honda Team / +00:06:39
8. Franco Caimi (ARG)-Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team / +00:07:10
9. Michael Metge (FRA)-Monster Energy Honda Team / +00:07:33
10. Toby Price (AUS)-Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team / +00:09:04
11. Ricky Brabec (USA)-Monster Energy Honda Team / +00:09:09
25. Andrew Short (USA)-Rockstar Energy Husqvarna Factory Rally Team / +00:25:25