The Dakar got well and truly underway today with Team Husqvarna by Speedbrain in the thick of the action. Joan Barreda, the Spanish rider won the Pisco – Pisco second stage, commanding the 242 km (151 miles) of special test. The stage proved to be really tough, with plenty of opportunities for errors and loss of time. Barreda on his Husqvarna TE449RR set an imposing pace from the start of the special test, coming in more than three minutes ahead of the nearest rival. "Gregarious‟ Matt Fish put in a fine performance too, managing to finish among the leaders in third place.
Conversely, Goncalves and Botturi lost a lot of time in seach of the correct route some 100 km into the race, as did Viladoms who was the fastest of the three once back on the right track.
Now Barreda is leading the provisional overall standings with 5‟36” on Ruben Faria. Tomorrow sees the third stage at Pisco Nazca, a 343 km run (214 miles) of which 243 km is special test.
Joan Barreda: “A really tough stage, but I‟m really pleased with the way I raced. By the time we were 100 km into the race, I was in command and I set my own pace to the finish line. I wanted to get away fast and that‟s what I did. The bike is perfect and the team are doing a great job.”
Matt Fish: ”There was such a lot of dust and navigation but I‟m happy with the result. I‟m under orders from the team, and it‟s important to be a help to my team-mates. I‟m really glad to have got my first podium place in a stage of the Dakar. ”
Paulo Goncalves: “A really tricky stage. So many of us got lost and it was impossible to make up the time. The way point wasn‟t easy to find. Then the dust from the group was too heavy to really force things, so I tried to hold back a bit."
Alessandro Botturi: “I was alongside Paulo the whole way and we had a lot of trouble finding the correct route. We really lost too much time. Tomorrow I‟ll be starting from behind but I‟ll try and make up some time. ”
Jordi Viladoms: “I got caught up in the group that got lost, but after I really pushed the group and lost less time. I‟m pretty pleased with my eighth place in the stage.”