Dakar 2016: Toby Price Sets the Pace, Mud Makes Everything Harder

Husqvarna is doing well in Stage 2, Dakar 2016 8 photos
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After the cancelation of Stage 1 due to inclement weather, the South American rally finally got underway, and Australian Toby Price went on to claim his first stage victory this year.
The rain and low, thick clouds that kept aircraft grounded in the first day of the Dakar rally were gone, but they surely left their mark on the Argentinian route. The organizers also had to reduce the length of Stage 2 because of the very hard terrain. Deep mud areas and navigation issues were tough obstacles for almost all riders, and if the rest of the rally is similar, we can expect big surprises stage by stage.

Price rode steadily and avoided getting in trouble, confirming that he had great potential. In fact, he was on the final podium in his debut Dakar, and this makes him one of KTM's biggest hopes after Cyril Despres and Marc Coma retired from two-wheeled racing.

Husqvarna and Sherco are right behind KTM

With two of the biggest names in recent Dakar history no longer at the start, the 2016 edition might see the rise of new cross-country stars. KTM has been dominating the rally for quite some time now, but it looks like Husky and Sherco are off to a very good start.

Even though Husqvarna is fielding bikes that are largely based on the KTM 450 Rally, seeing one ridden so fast and finishing Stage 2 so close to the leader is quite a feat. Faria's teammate Pablo Quintanilla is ninth and looking good.

On the other hand, Sherco TVS' Alain Duclos is also showing a good form and his goals are to finish in top five astride his French bike. KTMs fill the fourth and the fifth positions after Stage 2, with Factory riders Walkner and Svitko. The best-placed Honda is that of Barreda Bort, followed by Honda-fellows Goncalves and Benavides. The top 10 is rounded up with Pedrero Garcia for Sherco, while the fastest Yamaha follows after him, piloted by Alessandro Botturi.

Today's Stage 3 links Termas de Rio Hondo and Jujuy, with 350 km (217 mile) liaison and a 314 km (195 mile) special stage.

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