Ex-MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci made headlines at the Dakar Rally today, winning Stage 5 of the 2022 Dakar Rally.
Petrucci took the honors after teammate Toby Price was levied a six-minute penalty for speeding in the neutralization zone, and thus was dropped in the day’s rankings from first to fifth.
After the six-minute penalty, Petrucci was categorized ahead of Price by 1m46s, and ahead of second-place finisher Ross Branch by two seconds.
Despite getting a little help from the rulebook, Petrucci still rode a tough and hard-fought race, having a minor crash, difficulties with a waypoint beacon, and an interesting story about camel. He crossed the stage’s finish line with fellow KTM rider Kevin Benavides.
Few riders can lay claim to a Dakar Rally stage win, even fewer in their rookie debut, and Petrucci is the first MotoGP rider to do so, making the day’s result quite the feat nonetheless.
“Today was quite a long day. I set off this morning and decided I really wanted to learn and improve my navigation, so I didn’t push too hard at the beginning. After one corner there was a large dune with a group of camels on the other side,” said Petrucci.
“One big camel came into the track, and I had to avoid it, but ended up crashing after going across a lot of bumps and camel grass. That was my very first crash of this Dakar. After that I eased off a bit and Kevin [Benavides] caught up with me and we rode together towards the finish,” the Italian continued.
“After catching a few more riders we came across a waypoint that didn’t validate for everyone – I lost some time there. The last 60 kilometers were all dunes and so I was very careful there to make sure I didn’t hurt my ankle. So, it’s been an interesting and tough day, but I have really enjoyed it.”
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