Toby Price says now is the time to pile the pressure on Honda after the Japanese marque dominated the early stages of the Dakar Rally.
KTM factory rider Price moved up to third in the overall standings with victory on Thursday’s 327km Jujuy-Uyuni stage, as the Austrian marque locked out the first four places.
It brought to an end two days of Honda domination, with Joan Barreda winning the two previous stages before being handed speeding penalties on both occasions.
“The Honda riders have pushed hard, and we are pursuing them now,” Price told Motorsport.com at the Uyuni bivouac.
“But we have to stay consistent and focus on not damaging the bike. It’s still early days and there are still many stages to come where we should excel.”
Elaborating on the third Dakar stage win of his career, Price added: “We made a mistake with navigation in the final few kilometres, as there was something confusing in the roadbook.
“With the altitude we have not had many problems – it was a good day, and the win is a great reward.”
Goncalves staying calm
Despite only finishing a lowly 12th on the day’s stage, Honda’s Paulo Goncalves continues to hold sway at the top of the leaderboard with a 1m45s cushion over KTM privateer Stefan Svitko.
“I knew I would lose time [opening the road], but in the end what we have done makes me happy considering the conditions when we left Argentina,” Goncalves told Motorsport.com.
“The bike worked well and the important thing is to stay focused. The times don’t mean anything right now, and tomorrow we will have chance to make up ground as [the KTM riders] did today.”
Interviews by Luis Ramirez