After the moving and historic Dakar stage victory on Thursday, it was back to earth with a bump – literally – for former MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci on stage 6.
Petrucci’s performance meant he left on the first Friday, but had to deal with heavily damaged wheel marks left by cars, SSVs and trucks that took the same route a day earlier, creating conditions dangerous.
The competitive race was finally halted after 101 km, only a quarter of the length of the scheduled stage.
“The degradation of the track due to the passage of cars and trucks yesterday, combined with recent torrential rains, made the route impractical”, announced the organizers of the Dakar. “The classification for the sixth stage will be established at kilometer 101.”
At the time of the stop, Petrucci was only classified in 40th place after losing time in a “big accident” when he finished 12 minutes 44 seconds behind stage winner Daniel Sanders (GASGAS) .
âToday was the first time in my career that I opened a stage, and I think it was on one of the most difficult stages of this year’s rally, because it was used for cars and trucks yesterday, âsaid Petrucci, driving under the Tech3. KTM Factory Racing banner.
“The team did a good job warning me of the dangers, but I was still surprised to find a big step in the middle of the track. I had a pretty heavy fall and the rider behind me is also fell, but luckily I was able to continue.
“I think they made the right decision [to halt the Stage] and now i can’t wait to have a day off before continuing on sunday.
Yamaha’s Ross branch, second behind Petrucci yesterday, were not so lucky – they also hit a hidden “ledge” created by the trucks, thus ending their rally: “Just two kilometers away, I hit a ledge. unfortunately I couldn’t. I guess it was the same for everyone but I was not really happy to run this stage because I know the damage that trucks can cause. “
Petrucci is absent from the entire Dakar due to a previous electrical problem, which means his bike had to be collected in stage 2.
Sam Sunderland (GASGAS) leads the motorcycle category at 2m 39s ahead of KTM’s Matthias Walkner before the rest day.
The Saudi Dakar ends on January 14.