The second day of racing in the 2016 Dakar rally was good for Honda, but Joan Barreda is probably unhappy anyway.
The winner of yesterday’s rally was Honda rookie Kevin Benavides, an impressive result for only his second Dakar stage. However, for a while, everyone thought Barreda was the stage winner and overall leader, until he was hit with a one-minute penalty that took away his stage win and dropped him down to fifth overall.
Paulo Goncalves was second on the stage, beating his teammate. Rumour has it there’s some conflict now between Barreda and Goncalves, but nobody’s saying why. If there really is a problem between Honda’s two top riders, they’d better figure it out; chances are, sooner or later, one of them will need the other to help him finish a stage.
Antoine Meo (KTM) was third, a good result for the French rider. Stefan Svitko (KTM) was in fourth; Svitko never achieved alien status last year, but he did lay down a pile of consistent finishes, and he’s following that pattern again this year; currently, he leads the overall standings.
In previous years, the most-skilled riders always finished with a healthy lead over the rest of the pack, but yesterday, the top 25 riders all finished with five minutes of each other.Despite the rain and mud today, riders still talked about dusty sections as well. Toby Price, who won Stage 2, said he was slowed down by spectators and animals in Stage 3, causing him to finish in 36th. Despite his explanation, Dakar fans were immediately accusing him of intrigue and mind games, supposedly allowing his teammates to overtake him so he could benefit from their navigation, and then overtake them towards the end.
None of the KTM big guns (Matthias Walkner, Laia Sanz, Olivier Pain, David Casteau) broke into the top five.
Alain Duclos still managed a top-10 finish, in ninth place, and his teammate Joan Pedrero was in 23rd, meaning Sherco TVS is once again punching beyond their weight.
Dakar Stage 3 results
- Benavides (Honda) 02:31:03
- Goncalves (Honda) 02:31:29 (+00:00:26)
- Meo (KTM) 02:31:30(00:00:27)
- Svitko (KTM) 02:31:34 (+00:00:31)
- Barreda (Honda) 02:31:37 (+00:00:34) (00:01:00 penalty)
- Farres (KTM) 02:32:49 (00:01:46)
- Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 02:32:55 (00:01:52) (00:01:00 penalty)
- Duclos (Sherco TVS) 02:32:58 (+00:01:55)
- Walkner (KTM) 02:33:29 (+00:02:26)
- Svitko (KTM) 06:27:04 (00:01:00 penalty)
- Benavides (Honda) 06:27:38 (+00:00:34)
- Barreda (Honda) 06:27:50 (+00:00:46) (00:01:00 penalty)
- Goncalves (Honda) 06:27:58 (+00:00:54)
- Duclos (Sherco TVS) 06:28:00 (+00:00:56)
- Quintanilla (Husqvarna) 06:30:28 (+00:03:24) (00:01:00 penalty)
- Faria (Husqvarna) 06:30:47 (+00:03:43) (00:01:00 penalty)
- Price (KTM) 06:31:53 (+00:04:49)
- Pedrero (Sherco TVS) 06:33:23 (+00:06:19) (00:02:00 penalty)