The first of ten stages of the 2019 Dakar Rally was held between Lima and Pisco, with the riders starting in a reverse order, meaning the fastest riders had to leave the start at the back of the 137 riders that make up the motorbike category on the Dakar 2019. Joan Barreda (Honda) had a good day, and made an early statement of his intentions.
The Spanish rider waited patiently for the short 84 km special stage, after the long connection of 331 km, to make his move, and reached Pisco 1m34s before second fastest of day one, Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna).
Ricky Brabec gave Honda another podium position, finishing in third, holding a three second advantage over the best Yamaha of the day, with Adrien van Beveren showing he’s also here to fight for the best positions with the Japanese bike.
The KTM armada was led by British rider Sam Sunderland, who managed to close the day in fifth position, 2m56s behind leader Joan Barreda. KTM is on the hunt for their 18th consecutive win, and with this years’ race being so short, and only in Peru, KTM riders will need to step up their game every day if they want to beat their main rivals Honda.
The second stage, linking Pisco to San Juan de Marcona, will be the first big test, with riders facing a total of 553 km of which 342 km will be against the clock. Joan Barreda will start the stage in first, but motorbikes will leave the bivouac after the cars, so this means anything can happen.
Here’s the 2019 Dakar Rally classification after Stage 1
1. Joan Barreda (Spain) – Honda – 57m00s
2. Pablo Quintanilla (Chile) – Husqvarna – 59m10s +1m34s
3. Ricky Brabec (USA) – Honda – 1h00m28s +2m52s
4. Adrien van Beveren (France) – Yamaha – 1h00m31s +2m55s
5. Sam Sunderland (Great Britain) – KTM – 1h00m32s +2m56s