Monster Energy Honda Team’s Paulo Gonçalves rose to the occasion in a trouble-plagued second stage of the Dakar 2017. Teammates Ricky Brabec and Joan Barreda were among the fastest of the day.
Speed, hazards on the track and high temperatures were just some of the factors at play on a high-speed day two at the Dakar in the Chaco region. The heat continues to be the leading protagonist in the early part of the rally which is proving to be as punishing to man as it is to machine. As riders crossed the line their tyres were showing clear symptoms of the extreme conditions that they are being subjected to.
The four Monster Energy Honda Team riders got off to quick start, notching up times that kept them amongst the leading pack. Today’s 275 kilometre special covered various terrain types and was littered with multiple dangers: rocks, ditches and fords… not to mention animals straying onto the track in front of the competitors.
Joan Barreda, one of the fastest throughout the day, had a near-miss with a cow, the Spaniard choosing to play it safe for the latter part of the special, dropping time to the eventual stage winner. His Monster Energy Honda Team buddy Paulo Gonçalves, was also riding like a bat out of hell, taking second spot on the day and second overall as the Dakar 2017 leader board begins to take shape.
American Ricky Brabec was in the fray too, keeping the pace with his teammates, to post seventh at the flag and sixth in the general standings. Frenchman Michael Metge, who set off from second place at the start, like Barreda, chose to put precaution first, avoiding any hazards and saving the team any scares in the early stages.
Tomorrow competitors can expect a tough, lengthy stage where riders will get their first taste of the Bolivian altitudes to be endured over the forthcoming stages.
Wednesday, January 4
STAGE 3 SAN MIGUEL DE TUCUMÁN – SAN SALVADOR DE JUJUY
SELECTIVE SECTOR 364 km TOTAL 780 km
The rise in temperature and altitude will accompany a drastic change of scenery. With the first off-road sections, the riders and crews will head straight to the business at hand. The first real test in terms of endurance will also call for vigilance and lucidity when crossing the Rios. On the other hand, the trucks will be spared this final difficulty.
STAGE: 8TH, +6’25 OVERALL: 8TH, +5’32
I’m happy to have finished the stage well. In the first stretch there were plenty of dangers which didn’t make me feel confident at such high speeds. From then on we decided not to take any chances. Yes, it’s true that I have dropped a couple of minutes, but I’m certain that we can recuperate them over the coming days as the role of navigation becomes a key factor in the stages.
STAGE: 2ND, +3’51 OVERALL: 2ND, +2’54
We had a really quick part against the clock, filled with a lot of dangers such as animals crossing the track. I’m pleased for the Monster Energy Honda Team: all the riders have arrived safe and in one piece, without having taken any risks; that is the important thing as the race has barely started.
STAGE: 7TH, +5’40 OVERALL: 6TH, +4’29
I think that today was maybe the fastest day of the Dakar. We really couldn’t go much faster than we went today. It’s crazy, it’s so hot outside and we are trying to save our machines but we are also trying to push them. You don’t want to blow your wheels up and get stuck out there with the cows. I was trying to hit all the mud holes to get cooler water onto the wheels. I got to the finish line safe, rode well and hit all the notes. So, I’m already to go again tomorrow. Tomorrow is 364 kilometres so it would be nice to just hang out and not navigate as much.
STAGE: 25TH, +17’05 OVERALL: 23TH, +16’28
Today has been the first full day of the Dakar. This morning I started out and I waited for Paulo and Joan to pass. I lost a few minutes with this action. After that I started picking up the pace but I saw that there were dangers all over the place and we nearly ran into a cow, which gave us a bit of a shock. As a consequence, we decided to slow things down a bit, also because the ground was very broken up. As time went by I grew in confidence and I made it through to the end without any problems. The bike is going fantastically which is the main thing.
I’m pleased. Everything went well on a very difficult, danger-filled stage. The riders did really well without taking any potentially costly risks. Paulo had a great special; Joan, Ricky and Mika too. The main objective is to get through to the end of the stage in one piece without any falls and without punishing the bike excessively. Really, I’m very happy and hopefully we can continue to stay as focused over the next few stages.
Stage 2 Results
|1||PRICE Toby||1||AUS||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||2:37’32”|
|2||GONCALVES Paulo||17||POR||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+3’51|
|3||DE SOULTRAIT Xavier||23||FRA||Viltais Racing Team HFP||Yamaha||+4’06|
|4||SUNDERLAND Sam||16||GBR||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+4’19|
|5||QUINTANILLA Pablo||3||CHI||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+4’48|
|6||SVITKO Stefan||2||SLO||Slovnaft Team||KTM||+4’54|
|7||BRABEC Ricky||9||USA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+5’40|
|8||BARREDA Joan||11||SPA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+6’25|
|9||FARRES Gerard||8||SPA||Himoinsa Team||KTM||+7’26|
|10||FAGGOTTER Rodney||43||AUS||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||Yamaha||+7’50|
|11||PEDRERO Joan||12||SPA||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||Sherco||+8’09|
|12||VAN BEVEREN Adrien||6||FRA||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||Yamaha||+8’15|
|13||WALKNER Matthias||14||AUT||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+8’22|
|14||CERVANTES Iván||25||SPA||Himoinsa Team||KTM||+10’38|
|15||MONLEON Armand||10||SPA||Duust Rally Team||KTM||+10’59|
Provisional Standings after Stage2
|1||PRICE Toby||1||AUS||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||3:07’17|
|2||GONCALVES Paulo||17||POR||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+2’54|
|3||SUNDERLAND Sam||16||GBR||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+3’23|
|4||DE SOULTRAIT Xavier||23||FRA||Viltais Racing Team HFP||Yamaha||+3’41|
|5||QUINTANILLA Pablo||3||CHI||Husqvarna Factory Rally Team||Husqvarna||+4’26|
|6||BRABEC Ricky||9||USA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+4’29|
|7||SVITKO Stefan||2||SLO||Slovnaft Team||KTM||+4’45|
|8||BARREDA Joan||11||SPA||Monster Energy Honda Team||Honda||+5’32|
|9||PEDRERO Joan||12||SPA||Sherco TVS Rally Factory||Sherco||+6’46|
|10||FARRES Gerard||8||SPA||Himoinsa Team||KTM||+6’49|
|11||WALKNER Matthias||14||AUT||Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team||KTM||+2’39|
|12||VAN BEVEREN Adrien||6||FRA||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||Yamaha||+7’52|
|13||FAGGOTTER Rodney||43||AUS||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||Yamaha||+8’50|
|14||CERVANTES Iván||25||SPA||Himoinsa Team||KTM||+10’09|
|15||BOTTURI Alessandro||18||ITA||Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team||Yamaha||+11’08|