Honda sweep podium as Barreda takes lead in overall standing
With the third race day, the Dakar circus continues to head north towards the Bolivian border passing through the regions of Catamarca and Salta. With the timed section reduced once again for the damages caused by the heavy rain of the last days, the competitors left Termas de Rio Hondo, famous for its MotoGP circuit, to cover 134 km of liaison, 190km of special stage (instead of 314km) and a further 302km of liaison to reach Jujuy.
Not completely satisfied by yesterday’s stage; Barreda made the difference on the mountain tracks leading
by CP1, and repeating the feat at CP2 before finally grabbing another stage win after his victory in the Prolouge. It was a very good day also for the Japanese Manufacturer picking up 1-2-3 with the 28-year old Argentinian rider Kevin Benavides (Honda Argentina team) second and Paulo Goncalves third on his factory Honda. With today’s result the Spaniard leads the overall standings by 14 seconds on Stefan Svitko (KTM) and Benavides (+0’48). Fourth Gonvalves at +1’.08 from his team mate
“It was a perfect day for Honda”, said HRC Vice President Shuhei Nakamoto at the arrival of the stage, “the best way to celebrate with the team, before heading back to Japan. I have more work to do there preparing the MotoGP season, but I will be back for the last stage in Rosario”.
Barreda said: “Yesterday I had to open the track so I lost some time, but today I started in 7th position and I just had to push hard and kept focused. It was an easy day without navigation”.
In what was a perfect day for Honda, KTM’s men had a difficult day. Five time Enduro world Champion Antoine Meo was the first in fourth place ahead of Stefan Svitko. Matthias Walkner finished 2m’52s behind Barreda which was only good enough for tenth while yesterdays stage winner Toby Price finished in 37th a full 8m .07s off the lead dropping him to 10th in the overall standings 5m03s behind.