He has never given up and is still chasing a first title on the Dakar. Joan Barreda, reputed to be one of the fastest riders in the pack, has never enjoyed a better finish than the 5th place in the overall classification that he achieved in 2017.
Yesterday, a long session of navigational difficulties compromised his chances. However, as is often the case, his temperament drove him into making a comeback. With an attacking strategy pushed to the extreme, he grabbed his 28th stage victory, while far ahead of him, Sam Sunderland and Adrien Van Beveren respectively seized the first two places in the overall classification, separated by a gap of 2’51’’.
A CRUSHING BLOW
Truly, when your luck is out, it really is out… Today, Danilo Petrucci gave the perfect illustration of this adage. It all began on the 6th of December when the native of Terni broke his right ankle and heel. Nonetheless, he still came to Saudi Arabia to see how things would unfold and he soon realised that it was within his possibilities to race, even if it meant soldiering on through gritted teeth.
However, a stumbling block was thrown up when he tested positive for Covid-19 two days before the start. After a further test, the former MotoGP winner finally received the green light to make his dream of racing on the Dakar come true. Petrucci is fast, in fact he is very fast, as shown by his second place in the overall classification for the Rally2 category on the evening of stage 1B. Yet, after withstanding the pain of his injuries and the threat of Covid-19, it was in fact a mechanical problem that put paid to the hopes of the Tech3 rider, as his KTM ground to a halt after 115 km of the day’s special.
He strove to repair, but in vain and, in the end, was airlifted from the stage. Petrucci has not yet thrown in the towel, because he can play the trump card that allows him to continue the adventure and gain experience in the rally-raid discipline. If he chooses to do so, he will receive a similar penalty to the one handed out to Stéphane Peterhansel in the car category.