Monster Energy Honda Team gets 2018 Dakar underway
|The sun-scorched dunes of Ica in Pisco, with temperatures of 39-degrees, witnessed the opening of the 2018 Dakar Rally today. Joan Barreda proved to be the fastest of the Monster Energy Honda Team, placing fourth in the soft Peruvian sands.
The 2018 Dakar Rally – now in its 40th edition – got underway this morning in the Peruvian capital Lima, where the 141 participants of the motorcycle category got the show on the road from the starting ramp in the Pentagonito facility in the heart of a city populated by over eleven million inhabitants.
Monster Energy Honda Team headed out from the bivouac located in the Las Palmas air base where they had been acclimatizing and had gone through the pre-race preliminaries. The squad then moved on to the new bivouac in Pisco. This first 272-kilometre stage featured a liaison section of 241 km and the first 31-kilometre special stage before the arrival in Pisco. A ‘little appetizer’ was how Marc Coma had described it, made up of desert and dunes, some of them particularly challenging, where riders got their first taste of the type of navigation that they can look forward to in the forthcoming stages.
Joan Barreda began the campaign in the 40th edition with a fourth place, just a minute off the eventual stage winner Sam Sunderland. The Spanish rider from Castellon came across an accident on a low dune and decided to play it safe for the remainder of the first stage.
Argentinean rider Kevin Benavides and American Ricky Brabec battled hard throughout the opening kilometres in search of top ten places before posting notable tenth and eleventh places respectively. Michael Metge, meanwhile, dropped precious time trying to track down a waypoint but was able to place among the leading twenty with a deficit of 3’50” from the stage winner.
Stage 1 Results