Joan Barreda and Ricky Brabec have 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.
Having opened the stage Australian Toby Price both put in a solid ride from the front to finish 22nd while compatriot Daniel Sanders enjoyed a strong day to finish 9th, spending much of the day holding a top-two position.
Price is now placed 16th overall with a 17:39 second deficit while Sanders is in 18th, 21:11 seconds off the leader.
The Dakar, once again, produced a day of many reshuffles in the order compared to yesterday‰Ûªs stage. The riders who finished behind in yesterday‰Ûªs 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 ‰ÛÒ some 96 kilometres of link stage later ‰ÛÒ the riders found themselves back at the Wadi Al-Dawasir bivouac, which will be home-base for the coming two days.
Joan Barreda held a six-and-a-half minute margin over the day‰Ûªs runner-up, team-mate Ricky Brabec.
"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," Barreda said. "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."