The key to opting to win the Dakar 2022 was to endure the ups and downs that the times of the motorcycles give every day and arrive with the options intact to this, the penultimate, although with some other requirement. Joan Barreda he completed one, the main one, that of arriving well placed in the general classification, in the group of the best five, all separated by just over eight minutes. That already had enormous merit, and more so with a fractured clavicle. But he lacked another, that of leaving well placed on the decisive day. There he failed, and he paid it with 25 minutes compared to Kevin Benavides.

A convoluted navigation through the longer and more complicated dune area required a starting position in which to have references ahead. Barreda, third in the tenth stage, only had two and the enemy, Price and Luciano Benavides, who were not going to help him in the least. That is why he sought the penalty once he knew the result of Wednesday and he skipped a radar to finish further back, but he did it in a link and the two-minute sanction counted him only for the general, not for the stage, so it did not affect the starting order.

It was a costly miscalculation, and Honda’s well knew it before starting the 345-kilometer loop around Bisha. It was sold. Soon he was opening the track and could not stop the bleeding of minutes in front of those who did hit the strategy: Sunderland and Walkner. They slowed down at the end of the day before and came thrown from behind, especially GasGas, who was four seconds behind Kevin and is the new leader. In addition, he has the advantage to defend himself against the Austrian and Quintanilla, Honda’s only hope.

Because The Chilean is the closest to the British, at 6:52, just 23 seconds ahead of Walkner’s KTM, You will have to help your buddy build in case it is necessary. There is little difference between the three hopefuls for victory, but the 164 kilometers of the final stage are also few, there is almost no room to attack and Sunderland can dedicate itself to managing and not taking risks. Van Beveren, at 15 minutes, and Barreda, at 28, have practically assured the Top 5 and, a priori, the podium unattainable.

Thus, to Castellón the doors of victory in the Dakar are closed again and He only has to fight to try to repeat his best result in an edition, the one he achieved in 2017 when he was fifth with four wins. Now it takes three. That is the objective once the main one has been discarded, as it had to do also Santolino. He came to equal the sixth of last year, but the 23 minutes he lost leave him out of the Top 10 at one hour. It will not be the Dakar of the Spanish, not on four wheels.


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