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Joan Barreda Leads Merzouga Rally Stage One, Toby Price Seventh

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Joan Barreda Leads Merzouga Rally Stage One, Toby Price Seventh
Joan Barreda set the pace on stage one of the Merzouga Rally with a time of 3h 15‰Ûª58‰Û
Monster Energy Honda Team rider Joan Barreda has taken the win in the first full stage of the Merzouga Rally with the team‰Ûªs other riders also placing in top positions.

Barreda clinched the triumph in the second special stage for Monster Energy Honda Team after fellow team rider Kevin Benavides had taken the victory in the prologue yesterday.

Barreda put in a high speed performance over the course of 200 kilometres on an error-free, yet highly demanding stage. The Merzouga Rally produced a few navigational traps which left some competitors in a quandary. Barreda is the new leader of the race.

Barreda completed the special in 3h 15‰Ûª58‰Û
Joan Barreda Leads Merzouga Rally Stage One, Toby Price Seventh
Ricky Brabec was happy with third and vowed to push harder on stage two.
Ricky Brabec is satisfied with his position heading into the reamiang four days.

"It was a pretty fast one with a lot of fesh fesh," Brabec said. "Starting on loop A was okay, but when we got onto the second loop it was very tough. The side by side vehicles were still on the loop and had made it really, really dusty. We managed to make it through to the end of the special. We are going to push tomorrow and over the next four days."
Joan Barreda Leads Merzouga Rally Stage One, Toby Price Seventh
Defending champion Pablo Quintanilla posted the fourth fastest time in stage one of the event and is satisfied with the way things have started in Morocco.
Defending champion Pablo Quintanilla has posted the fourth fastest time in stage one of the event. Putting himself in an advantageous position for Tuesday‰Ûªs stage two, the Chilean rally star has his eyes set on climbing even higher in the rally‰Ûªs provisional overall standings.

‰ÛÏIt was a difficult day and I‰Ûªm happy with fourth in the stage," Quintanilla said. "There are some small differences in the roadbook compared to what we‰Ûªre used to from the World Championship, so it took me some time to get used to it. There were many notes put together and lots of technical trails with demanding navigation. Despite a few small mistakes I had a good pace and managed to get a good result at the end.

"I‰Ûªm satisfied with the way things have started here in Morocco and I‰Ûªm looking forward to the stages to come. I have a good starting position for tomorrow and my goal is to take advantage of it to make up some time. The race will be long and I know that in some places it‰Ûªs better to slow down and pay attention to my navigation instead of going flat out. My goal is to remain focused and continue pushing for a good result.‰Û
Joan Barreda Leads Merzouga Rally Stage One, Toby Price Seventh
After a small navigational difficulty, Toby Price crossed the line 7th and is happy with his riding and the bike. Photo: Marcin Kin
Toby Price, following his runner-up position from Sunday‰Ûªs Prologue, set off 14th from the bivouac in the morning. Keeping to a good pace, the 2016 Dakar champion trailed the leaders by only a couple of minutes at the halfway stage. Unfortunately, after missing a checkpoint, Price lost some valuable minutes and eventually completed the stage in seventh position, just less than 16-minutes behind the leader.

"The first part of this morning went really well," Price said. "I was only two-and-a-half minutes down after the first loop and riding well. Halfway through Loop B there was supposed to be a waypoint at kilometre 68, but for me it was another kilometre or so down the track. When the waypoints don‰Ûªt click off properly like that it spoils your day and you end up losing time. Nevertheless, I am happy with my riding and the bike is running superbly so I‰Ûªll look forward to tomorrow now and hopefully a better day.‰Û
Stage 1 results
1 Barreda Joan - Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 3:15'58
2 Caimi Franco - Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +8'03
3 Brabec Ricky - Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +11'25
4 Quintanilla Pablo - Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +12'17
5 Benavides Kevin - Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +12'46
6 Pedrero Joan - Sherco TVS Rally Factory Sherco +14'23
7 Price Toby - Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +14'54
8 Cornejo Jos̩ Ignacio CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +14'57
9 Santolino Lorenzo - Sherco TVS Rally Factory Sherco +21'31
10 Short Andrew - Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +26'14
11 Mena Oriol - Hero Motorsports Team Rally Hero +28'15
12 Duplessis MartÌ_n - Sherco TVS Rally Factory Sherco +29'08
13 Svitko Stefan - Slovnaft Team KTM +29'34
14 Botturi Alessandro - Botturi Racing Yamaha +30'21
15 Cerutti Jacopo - Moto Racing Group - MRG Husqvarna +38'10
16 Goncalves Paulo - Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +44'03

Provisional Standings after Stage 1
1 Barreda Joan - Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 3:22'16
2 Caimi Franco - Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +7'36
3 Brabec Ricky - Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +11'03
4 Benavides Kevin - Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +11'53
5 Quintanilla Pablo - Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +11'54
6 Pedrero Joan - Sherco TVS Rally Factory Sherco +13'50
7 Price Toby - Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +14'04
8 Cornejo Jos̩ Ignacio - Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +14'37
9 Santolino Lorenzo - Sherco TVS Rally Factory Sherco +20'59
10 Short Andrew - Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +26'03
16 Goncalves Paulo - Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +43'27

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