2022 Dakar Stage 9: The yo-yo effect

Ricky Brabec, who finished third on the day, rides through the dunes at the Dakar Rally. Photo: Honda

Today’s Dakar was another great example of the yo-yo effect that takes over the end of the race. Do well on a Monday, and you’ll end up opening the stage on a Tuesday, losing time. It’s like playing a giant game of Snakes and Ladders in the desert, on a motorcycle.

This means it’s hard to hold a consistent top-five spot day after day, and we saw Honda factory riders displace the KTM/Husqvarna/GasGas crew this morning. Jose Ignacio Cornejo Florimo took the stage win (again). Kevin Benavides did nail down second for KTM, but Ricky Brabec was in third for Honda. This is all good news for the Big Red team, as they’ll now move up the standings … but they’ll probably slide down again tomorrow.

(Is that a bad thing? Um, it depends how you look at it. Changing the race formula, so riders don’t have to open the course after winning a stage, would mean riders would potentially be even more motivated to win each day’s racing. That would increase top speeds, and Dakar organizers don’t want that. And, it would be a radical change from the race’s historic perspective as a two-week slog, turning it instead into a series of one-off sprints. On the other hand, there’s something to be said for a formula that doesn’t consistently penalize success.)

At day’s end, Matthias Walkner (KTM) held the top slot overall, with Sam Sunderland (GasGas) second. Adrien Van Beveren still sits in third; he’ll have to pull up his motocross socks if he wants to stay on the podium, as he finished in the bottom half of the top-10 again today, ninth overall. American Andrew Short finished in sixth, and appears to be on a mission to eliminate his time gap that he opened up in the early stages.

Stefan Svitko looked like he might repeat as top privateer, but gearbox troubles meant a bad result in Stage 9, and a 15-minute penalty for swapping parts when he got to the bivouac. It’s a bummer, but the ironman Slovakian rider is still a top-10 threat, as he’s only been bumped to 13th overall.

We are indeed starting to see the non-factory riders slip out of the top-10 though. Mason Klein (the American rookie hotshot, with Bas Dakar) is currently in 11th overall. Lorenzo Santolino is a factory rider for Sherco, but he’s also slipped, sitting in 12th at end of day. No matter how talented these guys are, it’s hard for smaller teams to compete with the mega-organizations from KTM/Husqvarna/GasGas, Honda and even Yamaha.

De Villiers update

A few days back, we told you about Giniel de Villiers copping a penalty for running into a bike on Stage 1, and undergoing investigation for hitting a second bike on Stage 2. He earned a massive five-hour penalty for the second incident, but appealed it, and has had it rescinded after race stewards decided he did nothing wrong in the incident. So, he’s back in contention, but not after some hardcore bike fans sent him death threats over the incidents! Not cool, people, not cool at all.

2022 DAKAR STAGE 9 RANKINGS

1 11 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA 02h 29′ 30”
2 1 RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING 02h 30′ 56” + 00h 01′ 26”
3 2 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA 02h 31′ 17” + 00h 01′ 47”
4 52 RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING 02h 31′ 36” + 00h 02′ 06”
5 88 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA 02h 31′ 40” + 00h 02′ 10”
6 29 MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM 02h 33′ 26” + 00h 03′ 56”
7 77 HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING 02h 33′ 51” + 00h 04′ 21”
8 7 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA 02h 34′ 32” + 00h 05′ 02”
9 42 MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM 02h 34′ 34” + 00h 05′ 04”
10 22 ORLEN TEAM 02h 36′ 10” + 00h 06′ 40”

2022 DAKAR OVERALL TOP 10 AFTER STAGE 9

1 52 RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING 30h 14′ 03”
2 3 GASGAS FACTORY RACING 30h 16′ 15” + 00h 02′ 12”
3 42 MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM 30h 17′ 59” + 00h 03′ 56”
4 7 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA 30h 18′ 44” + 00h 04′ 41”
5 1 RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING 30h 24′ 25” + 00h 10′ 22”
6 88 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA 30h 25′ 00” + 00h 10′ 57” 00h 01′ 00”
7 11 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA 30h 46′ 33” + 00h 32′ 30”
8 29 MONSTER ENERGY YAMAHA RALLY TEAM 30h 49′ 02” + 00h 34′ 59”
9 18 RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING 30h 49′ 17” + 00h 35′ 14” 00h 06′ 00”
10 2 MONSTER ENERGY HONDA 30h 49′ 57” + 00h 35′ 54” 00h 02′ 00”

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