The 2015 Dakar rally is just around the corner, and the always-dominant KTM team is getting themselves ready.
The team will once again feature Marc Coma as their star rider, with Jordi Viladoms right behind. They finished 1-2 last year, and are always a threat in the South American race; KTM has won 13 consecutive Dakar rallies.
Viladoms in particular should be greatly improved this year, as he had little time to practice on the new 450 last year before the race started.
Coma is going into the race in fine form, though; he won the 2014 Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, and unless he’s hit by bad luck, he has to be the favourite to repeat this year.
KTM’s Ruben Faria is in rough shape this year. He’s strugged with a shoulder injury, after he was forced to retire early from last year’s Dakar. He’s supposed to be ready by the January start date, but he’ll face a battle from other competitors who’ve been able to keep up with their training.
Sam Sunderland, KTM’s other up-and-coming factory rider, also had his 2014 season hampered by injury. Sunderland initially put up a strong showing for Honda at the 2014 Dakar (he won Stage Two) but had to retire after Stage Four. You can bet he’s coming back with a fire to win this year.
That’s a lot of top talent, but the other big thing KTM has going for them this year is that they’ve been running the new 450 for a few months now; it was unproven at last year’s Dakar, but with the rally season over, all the wrinkles should be ironed out and the bike should be good to go.
“We have a strong team again, and now a year on working with the bike, which we know is already proven, we have a lot of confidence again for this rally,” KTM Rally team manager Alex Doringer said.