(Due to weather, Stage 12 of the 2018 Dakar was canceled).
With many of the fast guys out of the race now, the 13th stage at the 2018 Dakar had a little less drama, but was not without its moments.
Toby Price (KTM) won the day, gaining a bit of time on his teammate Matthias Walkner in first and Honda’s Kevin Benavides in second, but not enough to move up the standings.
Price not only won the day, but opened the stage as well, so he didn’t have anyone else’s track to follow. It’s a hard stunt to pull off, and despite his year off recuperating from his broken leg, Price is proving he is probably the rider who possesses the best overall package of speed and rallycraft, despite his position down the standings. With only one special left, Price will most likely end the race in third.
Things continued to go poorly for the Honda factory team, who lost Ricky Brabec today due to a mechanical failure (blamed on the bike’s electrics). Brabec said he was only given an hour to get the bike going down the course again, and that wasn’t enough to solve the problem. He’s out now, leaving Kevin Benavides as the sole remaining Honda star. It’s the second year in a row he’s had to bow out, and the incident doesn’t look good on the Honda machine.
Benavides finished second overall today, ensuring he didn’t bleed too much time to Price, and Antoine Meo (KTM) finished third, moving him up to fourth overall. Meo is riding very aggressively at the end of this race, taking a much harder approach than the traditional water carrier role. Perhaps KTM strategy reckons the factory team is guaranteed two riders on the podium if either Price or Meo crashes out, with this plan of attack?
Meo’s move to fourth overall came at the expense of Gerard Farres, who’s riding a KTM for the Himoinsa team. Farres actually crashed 25 kilometres from the end of the special, losing all the gas from his fuel tank, and almost ending his race. Fortunately, he was able to get some gas from a spectator, carrying him through to the end and keeping him in the event, but it cost him precious minutes.
In the Malle Moto class, Lyndon Poskitt had a rough day again, crashing in the desert. Olivier Pain, formerly of the Yamaha factory team, is riding in Malle Moto this year, and has a healthy lead in the class despite earning an engine change penalty earlier.
As for the Yamaha factory squad, the only remaining rider is Rodney Fagotter, who got 21st on the day and is now in 16th overall. It’s been a tough year for Yamaha’s Dakar team, and that’s reflected in its press releases, which are a bit more subdued now that no Yamaha rider is in line for a podium.
Canadian Jack Lundin finished 76th today, and now sits at 77th overall.
Stage 13 Top 10
- Toby Price, KTM
- Kevin Benavides, Honda, + 00:02:03
- Antoine Meo, KTM, + 00:02:44
- Matthias Walkner, KTM, + 00:11:32
- Juan Pedrero Garcia, TVS, + 00:15:12
- Johnny Aubert, Gas Gas, + 00:17:10 (00:01:00 penalty)
- Armand Monleon, Daming, + 00:21:31
- Oriol Mena, Hero, + 00:21:54
- Jonathan Barragan Nevado, Gas Gas, + 00:22:11
- Gerard Farres, Himoinsa, + 00:23:34
Overall Top 10
- Matthias Walkner, KTM (00:01:00 penalty)
- Kevin Benavides, Honda, + 00:22:31
- Toby Price, KTM, + 00:27:45
- Antoine Meo, KTM, + 00:50:17 (00:01:00 penalty)
- Gerard Farres, Himoinsa, + 01: 01:19
- Johnny Aubert, Gas Gas, + 01:55:12 (00:20:00 penalty)
- Pablo Quintanilla, Husqvarna, + 02:06:49
- Oril Mena, Hero, + 02:23:29
- Daniel Oliveras Carreras, Himoinsa, + 02:39:33
- Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo, + 02:40:17