25th stage win and leadership in the Dakar for Joan Barreda

2021 Dakar Rally
2021 Dakar   Round DAK21

25th stage win and leadership in the Dakar for Joan Barreda

Joan Barreda and Ricky Brabec scooped another one-two for Monster Energy Honda Team in the second stage of the Dakar Rally 2021. This marks a twenty-fifth stage victory for the Spaniard, who holds the place as the rider with the fourth highest number of wins in Dakar history. Barreda is the new overall leader of the 2021 Dakar.

The Dakar, once again, produced a day of many reshuffles in the order compared to yesterday’s stage. The riders who finished behind in yesterday’s stage were expected to pounce in an effort to claw back time, which is precisely what they did, on track conditions which proved very conducive to gaining lost time. Riders made a start from Bisha in cool temperatures before heading out onto the 135-kilometre liaison section which led to the starting point of the special stage. At the start of the 457-kilometre special, competitors faced low dunes and fast, open track, with the advantage always favouring the pursuers, proving to be a great handicap for the front-runners eager to fend them off. Later on, the stage hit level two and three type dunes, before ending on narrow stony areas and dried-out river beds. Finally – some 96 kilometres of link stage later – the riders found themselves back at the Wadi Al-Dawasir bivouac, which will be home-base for the coming two days.

Joan Barreda was the man to beat, claiming victory in the stage and clinching the overall race leadership. But these two feats weren’t the only thing Joan was celebrating.  With today’s race, the Monster Energy Honda Team rider from Castellón takes his Dakar Rally stage victory tally to 25, the fourth best rider in the Dakar role of honour. Joan held a six-and-a-half minute margin over the day’s runner-up, team-mate Ricky Brabec.

The American got off to a strong start today – as did Joan – and was able to make up for the time dropped yesterday. Brabec accomplished his mission and now lies in second place overall, although he is well-aware that the Dakar has barely begun and a lot is in store before the great challenge finally draws to a conclusion.

Today’s starting position did not bode well for Kevin Benavides and it looked highly-likely that his adversaries would be able to chase him down and whittle away some of the gap from the Argentinean Monster Energy Honda Team rider. In the end, Kevin posted 24th, which will leave him starting tomorrow’s stage from further back with a chance to make up time. Kevin holds thirteenth in the general standings.

After some issues in the previous stages, today’s stage proved to be a good one for José Ignacio Cornejo. Despite a slight navigation error at the start of the special, the Chilean managed to set good pace on the kind of terrain that favours his riding style and was able to post a fifth-place finish, close to the leading riders. ‘Nacho’ now holds eleventh overall some twelve minutes adrift of the new leader.

Tomorrow sees the first looping stage of this Dakar 2021, held between Wadi Al-Dawasir – Wadi Al-Dawasir, with 403 kilometres against the clock, plus a 226 km liaison section, making up a total stage of 629 kilometres for the one hundred or so riders taking part.

Ricky Brabec  1

STAGE: 2ND  OVERALL: 2ND

Unfortunately we didn’t win, but I’m not sure if I want to win a stage for the rest of this Dakar. It bit us hard yesterday. It’s going to be a long Dakar. We are going to do our best each day to finish each and every day. We’re trying to make up time that we lost. We have ten days left. Right now we’re in a good spot. We’ve got to be smart. We’ve got to keep the bike moving fast. Today was really fast. I feel the navigation wasn’t that tricky. It’s a different story when you are opening the stage. My team-mate Kevin found that out today. He’s a solid opener, but he had a couple of issues. He lost time as well as Toby. We are safe and healthy and ready for day three.

José Ignacio Cornejo  4

STAGE: 5TH  OVERALL: 11TH

Today was a good stage in terms of results, but it could have been better. At the start of the stage I made a serious mistake that made me lose several minutes. After this I felt very comfortable with the bike and was battling hard with a very quick pace, so I am happy about that. I feel that I have established myself on the bike and the terrain here, so let’s see if from now on I can produce more solid stages. Hopefully I can always remain among the front runners, without having to open the track, but up there among them.

Kevin Benavides  47

STAGE: 24TH  OVERALL: 13TH

Today I started second and we knew we could drop time starting from the front. I caught up with Toby Price and opened the track for about 300 km so I’m happy with the job done in terms of navigation and speed. Even so, I lost time since following the Roadbook which was complicated and I had problems to find some WPs but that’s normal. Tomorrow I will have to start from behind, so I will have to take advantage of that. Overall I’m happy because it was a beautiful stage, very technical but fun.

Joan Barreda  88

STAGE: 1ST  OVERALL: 1ST

It was a very good stage. We were forced to attack from the very first kilometre until the end and the truth is that it went well. But this is only the second stage of the Dakar and we know that tomorrow it will be difficult starting from the front once again. You have to stay calm, try not to make any mistakes and take it stage by stage.