What would have happened this season with Marc Márquez on the track

What would have happened this season with Marc Márquez on the track

Barreda completed the 267 timed kilometers that the stage had in 2 hours, 56 minutes and 44 seconds, and finished ahead of Frenchman Adrien Van Beveren (Yamaha), second at 2:54, and Austrian Matthias Walkner (KTM), third a 4:24.

Argentine Kevin Benavides (Honda) finished in fifth place, behind his teammate, Frenchman Michel Metge (Honda), who was fourth.

Off-piste and dunes

The stage took place in the surroundings of the Peruvian city of Pisco, where the starting and finishing point of the route was, which was 90% off-piste, and mainly on dunes.

The bikes started after the cars, contrary to what is usual in the Dakar, so the riders found themselves with a more worn terrain due to the previous passage of the cars.

For this Monday, the motorcyclists will continue the course towards the south marked by the route of this fortieth Dakar, with a stage between the cities Pisco and San Juan de Marcona that will have 296 kilometers, of which 208 will be timed

Australian Toby Price (KTM) achieved victory in the first stage of the Dakar Rally, starting in Jeddah and finishing in Bisha, and took the lead in the motorcycle classification.

Jan 03, 2021 at 12:06 pm CET

The two-time champion of the event started the 2021 edition on the right foot and was placed as the first leader of the rally on an unfortunate day for the defending champion, American Ricky Brabec (Honda), who had just been the fastest in the prologue.

Brabec crossed the finish line 18 minutes and 32 seconds behind Toby Price after missing at the start of the 277-kilometer special.

Barreda, a quarter of an hour

The Spanish Joan Barreda (Honda), who was also lost, lost more than a quarter of an hour, as did the Chilean Pablo Quintanilla (Husqvarna).

Argentine Kevin Benavides (Honda) and Austrian Matthias Walkner (KTM), on the other hand, signed a good performance and took the podium of the day, 31 and 32 seconds behind Toby Price, respectively.

These three riders set the tone for the first stage of the 2021 Dakar Rally, a 277-kilometer special and 345-kilometer link between the towns of Jeddah and Bisha, with a mixed terrain, halfway between the tracks and the dunes, with a part very important navigation.

For his part, Colombian Jhon Trejos suffered a fall at kilometer 98 and was forced to leave the Dakar Rally for the second time prematurely after suffering a right wrist injury.

Brabec begins the defense of the title being the fastest in the prologue

Nani Roma: "It cost me more than I expected"

In 2018 he left in the eighth stage. In this edition, his goodbye came in the first stage.

At 23 years old, the Balearic Joan Mir faces the decisive straight of the World Championship at the head of the MotoGP classification and with a high probability of becoming the first Suzuki champion in two decades. For now, he says, control his emotions. At SPORT, we chatted with him before the decisive hat trick that closes the 2020 calendar with two races in Valencia and the finishing touch in Portimao.


On at 08:33 CET

Josep Viaplana @ F1viaplana Laura López Albiac @LauraAlbiac


MotoGP – GP Valencia

How is it going? Ready for the final battle? 

These days I have been locked up at home, almost confined, to minimize the risks of covid. It is complicated because it is a defining moment of the season. A positive now could make you lose two races, or all three, and I can’t afford it, no one can, but less of us. We have made a complicated protocol with the people who usually surround me. We have taken all possible measures. At home there are three of us and one goes out to buy. And it is becoming more and more scary to go to the supermarket. It’s a nervous moment. We are very aware of the situation and we cannot fail.

In any case, better at home than locked in the paddock as Dorna and the teams propose?

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The same in Valencia, between the two races, I stay in the paddock, but if we do things well at home, I don’t see why I can’t go back. Here we are quite isolated. And for example, the idea of ​​spending three or four weeks without leaving the motorhome and the circuit would be to commit suicide… it is very difficult for everyone ”.

Have you been able to continue your preparation normally these days? 

I’m training, although not like I always do because, for example, I can’t go motocross in places where there are a lot of people and I have to go to other more isolated places, but physically I have to continue one hundred percent and I have to find a compromise.

How do you tackle the three remaining races? 

It will be important to see to what extent we are competitive in the first one. Joan Mir resides in Andorra with his partner. He is in love with his mountains at the Valencia race to be able to propose a strategy for the general world championship, although at this moment the only possible strategy is to go all out. In every race we are risking to win. I have not been in the category for two years and it is normal not to have won yet. What is perhaps not so normal is that he is fighting for the title. So the strategy will be to go all out, as always, but without doing stupid things, knowing where the limit is, because I can’t go to the ground now. Anyway, as the championship is this year, the podiums are almost like victories.


He is the leader with 14 points of advantage and the maximum candidate for the title. Are you feeling the pressure at such a crucial time for you? Do you sleep easy? 

Few things keep me awake. I wear it quite normally, because every year and every race there is pressure. There are several types of pressure and the worst of all is that pressure when they tell you “squeeze, if the results don’t come out you go home.” And then there is the pressure that we have now. It is good. We gambled on the title, like when I did it in Moto3, but I try not to think about that all the time because otherwise, in the end, I could get nervous.

In just five years he has gone from making his debut and being Moto3 champion, rookie of the year in Moto2, jump to MotoGP and now to lead the World Championship. On what note have you grown as a pilot?

My career has always been very fast. When I got to the World Cup, I couldn’t believe that I was on the track with the guys I’d seen on TV until then, idols. But I already started winning races and in the second year, I won the Moto3 title. That helps you grow very fast, you mature much more than others … my pace has always been accelerated and I have always been at the height of what that pace asked of me. There are good things about that too, because I watch my races and it doesn’t seem like I’ve been in MotoGP for less than two years.

Had you imagined getting here in such a short time? 

Of course I did not expect it, I did not think I would have as many podiums and as much potential as it has been seen, or be fighting for the title. But I have the opportunity and we must try to take advantage of it.

What is the password? The bike, the team, the rider, the confidence…? 

A bit of everything. Suzuki was also not expected to have two drivers fighting for the title with three races to go. And even less that the leader was me. The project was more long-term. Also, I started the season with falls and bad. In Brno we did the ‘click’ at the head level and when I got on the podium in Austria I entered a positive spiral of confidence to go from less to more. And the goal is to finish the season even better.

What has Suzuki done so well to be able to stand up to such powerful rivals with many more resources such as Honda and Yamaha? 

Actually, we didn’t expect it, neither did they. When at the beginning of this year I signed the renewal for two seasons, it was thinking of a project to try to fight for the World Cup later on. We all know that winning a championship with Suzuki has more value and that is why I came to this factory. They have worked very hard in winter and are now reaping the rewards. The bike is very competitive, very consistent and works well on all circuits except at Le Mans, where we had some problems.

It has become fashionable among its rivals to say that Suzuki has the best bike. When you hear those things, do you see it as an excuse?

Well … in the DNA of the riders is to say that the best bike is owned by others and that yours does not work. I thought that in MotoGP no longer happened but it seems that it does… I don’t understand how anyone can judge that one motorcycle is better than another without having tried it. The people who are saying this are riding a bike that has won six races this year, by just one Suzuki win. It does not add up to me… It is a lack of respect towards the factory and the pilots. What can I say? I would say something like that in life.


What lacks to polish the Suzuki? Improve qualy? 

Man, between starting 12th or in the first row there is no color, and it is a problem that we focus on. Alex (Rins) was quick to one lap at MotorLand and I think we are on the right track in that regard.

What would have happened this season with Marc Márquez on the track? Do you think you and your rivals would be fighting for the title equally? 

That we will never know. But we do know that Marc, in the first race he ran, failed. I am convinced that he would have been the driver to beat, but this year the most difficult thing is to always be in front. With Marc on the track, everything is always more difficult, for sure, although we don’t know if the championship would have been different from what it is.

What would you say to people like Casey Stoner who think that without Marc Márquez this championship is devalued? 

These people on the couch, with all due respect… it seems incredible that Stoner was a MotoGP rider and says those things. From the outside, those who do not know about motorcycles may think it, but if he says it, I do not understand. At MotorLand the track record was broken and it was the fastest race. It doesn’t make sense to say that the MotoGP level is lower when the laps are faster this year.

Which of your rivals worries you the most at this point?

Each one of them. And the one I fear most is myself. I hope not to fail. It would be a mistake to cite a rider ahead of others when the top six are so close overall, at 32 points.

There has been a lot of talk these days about team orders.