2019 Dakar Stage 2: Matthias Walkner Takes The Win, Joan Barreda Retains Overall

Author: Garry Morrow


Defending champion Matthias Walkner claimed his first stage win by 22 seconds over American Ricky Brabec. Photo: Marcin Kin
Matthias Walkner has won the fast and demanding second stage of the 2019 Dakar Rally ahead of Monster Energy Honda duo Ricky Brabec and Joan Barreda and Australian Toby Price.

Stage two of the 2019 Dakar Rally challenged all motorcycle competitors with an extremely fast, and rough, timed special of 342 kilometres. Leaving Pisco and heading south along the coast towards San Juan de Marcona the unusual stage saw the cars opening the route, leaving the bikes to deal with the many tracks ahead of them in the sand. The added traffic not only caused the terrain to cut up badly, but also made navigation even more of a challenge.

Following his solid ride on the short, opening day‰Ûªs stage, Matthias Walkner was the seventh rider to enter today‰Ûªs timed special. The reigning Dakar Champion opted to push right from the beginning. For the majority of the stage Walkner chased down Ricky Brabec ahead of him, only to head the American rider in the last 40 kilometres and ultimately claim the stage win by a narrow 22 seconds.

‰ÛÏThat was a long and really, really fast stage," Walkner said. "It was hard to judge the pace of the riders in front, so early on I decided to push and give my best. It was enough to set the fastest time, which is great but I‰Ûªm not too keen on stages like that ‰ÛÒ two or three in a year is enough for me. Crossing the tracks left by the cars on such a tricky stage can be quite daunting sometimes and I‰Ûªm glad to reach the finish safely.‰Û
Second on stage was enough to keep Monster Energy Honda Team's Ricky Brabec in the top three in the general classification.
Monster Energy Honda Team's Ricky Brabec very nearly stole the stage victory, but the American had to settle for second place, coming home just 22 seconds adrift of the eventual stage winner.

"The second stage was awesome. More or less like what I‰Ûªm used to at home," Brabec enthused. "Lot‰Ûªs of fast track, lots of rocks, fesh fesh and some dunes. I had a fun day, and rode most of the day with Quintanilla. It was great so we‰Ûªll see what happens tomorrow. Third overall is not that good. We‰Ûªve got to be in front. So we are going to try tomorrow."
Monster Energy Honda Team's Joan Barreda was first out of the gate on stage 2 after winning stage 1. He finished the day third.
Stage 1 winner Joan Barreda, who opened the special alone, posted third, 1‰Ûª41‰Û
Struggling with wrist soreness, Toby Price had a long 342 kilometre day but was strong and fast enough for 4th fastest. Photo: Florent Gooden
Despite a small mistake that caused him to get stuck early on in the stage, Toby Price went on to post the fourth fastest time of the day, three minutes behind stage winner Walkner. Although still riding in pain due to his injured wrist, Price now sits fifth overall in the provisional overall standings and is determined to maintain his strong pace as the rally progresses.

‰ÛÏDay two was long, 342 kilometres on my wrist was really tough," Price lamented. "It didn‰Ûªt help that I got stuck in a dune around the 50-kilometre mark and had to pull the bike out and turn around. That hurt my wrist a little more but I managed to live with it for the rest of the stage, even though it was really bumpy after the cars had been through. All in all, I‰Ûªm pretty happy with my time and looking forward to tomorrow.‰Û
Pablo Quintanilla remains a strong force and was 5th fastest on stage 2. Photo: Marcin Kin
Making good use of his vast rally racing experience, Pablo Quintanilla put in a steady but importantly mistake-free performance on Tuesday‰Ûªs stage two of the Dakar. Pushing hard to gain some time in the opening part of the special, the Chilean rally star eventually finished less than four minutes behind the day‰Ûªs winner Walkner. Currently fourth in the provisional overall standings, Pablo sits in a very good place ahead of the remainder of the rally.

‰ÛÏStage two was a long and tough one but I had a good feeling on my bike," Quintanilla said. "The pace was quite high from the beginning and we were riding a lot across the beach. I pushed hard in the first part of the special stage. After the refuelling the conditions changed a lot. We were following the cars and there were lots of different tracks everywhere, so I decided to keep it steady and avoid taking any risks. I kept a good pace until the end and managed to get a good overall time for the day. The gap to the leaders is still controllable so I am looking ahead to tomorrow‰Ûªs stage.‰Û
Sam Sunderland rode another calculated stage, minimising any risks on the heavily worn terrain. Photo: Marcin Kin
Now sitting sixth, one place behind Price in the overall standings, Sam Sunderland rode another calculated stage, minimising any risks on the heavily worn terrain. Although not quite finding his rhythm on the long timed special, the Brit is still confident that his pace is good and is feeling fit and motivated for the rest of the event.

‰ÛÏIt was a pretty tricky stage covering the car lines. You are always cross-checking the road book to make sure you‰Ûªre not making any mistakes," Sunderland explained. "I didn‰Ûªt find my rhythm as well as I would have liked, I know my pace wasn‰Ûªt too bad but I didn‰Ûªt feel so strong out there. As the speeds were so high today, I decided to ease off a little after the refuel to conserve my tyre. It may be that I didn‰Ûªt have to, but this early in the rally I‰Ûªd rather be safe than sorry.‰Û
Frenchman Adrian Van Beveren was the best of the Yamalube Yamaha Rally Team taking his WR450F Rally to 7th on stage, he now sits 7th in the general; classification.
Working hard to avoid costly mistakes during today's stage, Yamalube Yamaha Rally's Adrian Van Beveren posted the seventh best time in Tuesday's timed special. Currently seventh in the provisional overall rankings, the WR450F Rally powered racer is looking ahead to the coming stages of the rally.

"Today we were treated with a fast and difficult stage. There was a lot of fesh-fesh and some parts with loads of stones," Van Beveren explained. "It's quite hard to feel comfortable racing in this terrain but I did my best to stay close to the leaders. There were also lots of tracks from the cars and it was easy to make navigational mistakes. In the dunes I felt good on my bike and managed to gain some time, but overall I had to be patient and try not to make costly mistakes. There's still a long way to go in this Dakar and I'm now are set on tomorrow's stage three."
Aussie Rodney Faggotter is now 27th in the provisional overall after finishing stage 2 in 29th place.
Yamalube Yamaha Rally rider Rodney Faggotter put in another steady performance on stage two of this year's Dakar. Collecting a 29th place result, the Aussie is now 27th in the provisional overall.

"We're just two days into this Dakar and we've already entered the most demanding stages," The Australian said. "The stage today was fast and long. For me, the goal is to remain consistent and bring my Yamaha back at the bivouac safely. It's all going according to plan so far and I'm looking forward to the dune stages to come."

Of the two Australian privateers, Ben Young finished 102nd and now site 103rd in the general classification while James Ferguson finished 13 spots back in 115th and is now classified as 116th overall.

Stage three of the 2019 Dakar Rally leaves the bivouac at San Juan de Marcona and again heads south along the coast of the South Pacific towards the city of Arequipa. The 798-kilometre stage includes another long timed special of 331 kilometres.
Stage 2 winner Matthias Walkner after a long day in the dunes. Photo: Marcin Kin.
Dakar Rally 2019 - Race Schedule
Stage 1 | Jan 7 | Lima to Pisco | SS: 84km | Total: 331km
Stage 2 | Jan 8 | Pisco to San Juan de Marcona | SS: 342km | Total: 554km
Stage 3 | Jan 9 | San Juan de Marcona to Arequipa | SS: 331km | Total: 779km
Stage 4 | Jan 10 | Arequipa to Moquegua | SS: 352km | Total: 511km
Stage 5 | Jan 11 | Moquegua to Arequipa | SS: 345km | Total: 776km
Rest Day | Jan 12 | Arequipa
Stage 6 | Jan 13 | Arequipa to San Juan de Marcona | SS: 317km | Total: 839km
Stage 7 | Jan 14 | San Juan de Marcona to San Juan de Marcona | SS: 323km | Total: 387km
Stage 8 | Jan 15 | San Juan de Marcona to Pisco | SS: 361km | Total: 576km
Stage 9 | Jan 16 | Pisco to Pisco | SS: 313km | Total: 410km
Stage 10 | Jan 17 | Pisco to Lima | SS: 112km | Total: 358km

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