Dakar 2021: Joan Barreda wins stage on bad day for KTM

Joan Barreda achieved a landmark 25th Dakar Rally stage victory on Monday to vault into the overall lead of the event, while KTM’s hopes of taking back the title from Honda took a knock.

Spanish rider Barreda won the 457km Bisha to Wadi Ad-Dawasir test by three minutes, 55 seconds ahead of defending champion and Honda teammate Ricky Brabec, as the pair bounced back from a difficult first stage of the rally.

Barreda led at every single waypoint en route to a success that ties him with five-time event winner Marc Coma for fourth on the all-time stage wins list.

Having gone into the day down in 18th and trailing by 14 minutes and 21 seconds, Barreda now leads the standings overall by 6m23s ahead of Brabec.

Pablo Quintanilla was third-fastest on the stage for Husqvarna, 6m02s down on Barreda, followed by top Yamaha rider Ross Branch and another Honda rider, Jose Ignacio Cornejo.

Branch, a newcomer to the Yamaha squad for this year, now sits third overall, just 14s behind Brabec, while Quintanilla is fourth ahead of teammate Xavier de Soultrait.

KTM’s trio of factory riders all dropped down the leaderboard on a day to forget for the Austrian marque, with 2018 race winner Matthias Walkner suffering the worst.

Walkner had begun the day third but suffered an early technical problem that cost him two hours and 15 minutes, and has yet to complete the stage as of the time of writing.

Sunday’s stage winner and overnight leader Toby Price meanwhile steadily lost time to Barreda throughout the stage and ended up giving away 32 minutes to the Spaniard – leaving him 17m39s off the lead and provisionally 16th in the standings.

Sam Sunderland fared slightly better but still failed to crack the top 10 on the stage as he lost 23 minutes, leaving him 12th provisionally and 12m50s down on Barreda overall.

KTM rookie Daniel Sanders was second behind Barreda at one point in the stage, but lost ground in the final part of the test and ended up ninth, 16 minutes down at the finish.

Also having a day to forget was Stage 1 runner-up Kevin Benavides, who has slipped to 13th overall after losing almost 29 minutes to Honda teammate Barreda.

Yamaha’s Andrew Short has become the first factory team retirement of the rally following an unrepairable mechanical issue.

Standings after Stage 2 (top 10):

1 Joan BarredaHonda8h15m38s
2 Ricky BrabecHonda6m23s
3 Ross BranchYamaha6m37s
4 Pablo QuintanillaHusqvarna7m16s
5 Xavier de SoultraitHusqvarna8m25s
6 Adrien van BeverenYamaha8m34s
7 Luciano BenavidesHusqvarna9m07s
8 Skyler HowesKTM9m31s
9 Stefan SvitkoKTM10m23s
10 Lorenzo SantolinoSherco10m51s

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