Rest DayArequipa

  • Preparing for the Latter 5 Stages at Arequipa

    The Dakar rally is in its only rest day at the bivouac of Arequipa, where teams and riders are still busy preparing for the final five stages of the race.


Preparing for the Latter 5 Stages at Arequipa

January 12, 2019

DAKAR RALLY 2019 - Rest Day

DAKAR RALLY 2019 - Behind the Scene Rest Day

Since the ceremonial start which took place on the beach near Lima in front of an enthusiastic crowd of 10 thousand people on January 6, the race has now finished 5 stages bringing the competitors to the only rest day set in Arequipa. The mechanics have been working hard to check over and prepare the bikes for the following stages while the riders have been taking care of their health, receiving massages, and recovering from the physically hard first week. The Monster Energy Honda Team is in great shape and with a strong will to take on the following stages.

January 12: The Dakar rally is in its only rest day at the bivouac of Arequipa. Leaving Lima on the 7th, the rally traveled south through Pisco, San Juan de Marcona, Arequipa, Moquegua, and now, after the rest day, it will start to head back north, back to Lima. Although it’s called the “rest day”, the team and riders are still busy to prepare for the rest of the race. The riders are studying their road books while receiving massages, trying to recover as best they can to be fully fit for the latter half of the race where the competition will be ever harder. The mechanics also had a busy day after working until late at night the previous day to make sure the bikes are in 100 percent condition. At the end of the rest day the riders will head off to Camana, a town 175km away, closer to where the next stage’s start is set.

Ricky Brabec sits at the top of the leader board half way into the 2019 Dakar, as Kevin Benavides also secured a good position. Jose Ignacio Cornejo who stayed with injured Paulo Goncalves until the helicopter arrived, received a time consideration which was announced this morning. He was to receive 2 minutes 25 seconds, the same as Sam Sunderland (KTM) who also stopped for the rescue, which put him in second position of the 5th stage. Cornejo is now 51 minutes 59 seconds off the overall leader.

The remaining distance of the rally is 1568km with 1444km against the clock over 5 stages. Stage 8 taking place on January 15 will be a combined start with all the top competitors from each bike, car, truck categories together, and the following Stage 9 is going to be a mass-start yet again, like the riders experienced in Stage 5. The competition is going to be ever harder and intense, starting with a long stage of 838km heading to San Juan de Marcona tomorrow. The fully recovered riders with their top condition bikes will duel the 317km Special.


Ricky Brabec, Overall: 1st

The rest day is always relaxing and we need to take advantage to fully charge our batteries. Half way in to the 2019 Dakar, I am now the leader. I think I’m the only American rider who has ever led the Dakar except Robby Gordon and I feel good about it. From tomorrow it’s going to be an intense fight for the top. Kevin is a teammate, but a rival at the same time both wanting to win. I’m sure it will be a close battle all the way to the goal.

Kevin Benavides, Overall: 6th

We completed the first half in a good balance. The following week will be full of complicated navigation and a lot of off-piste where we’ll have to take maximum care, and we have been preparing for these tasks today in the rest day. The top seven riders are within very close times and anyone could win. We’ll just have to continue to do our best to come out on top at the end.

José Ignacio Cornejo, Overall: 14th

The first week was a tough one. With fesh-fesh and stones, rivers and so on. I prefer the route to be more mixed. The Liaisons were also longer than we expected so the days were long even after the competition was over. But I’m happy with my pace and I think I have the speed to fight amongst the top riders. I’m now taking it easy and enjoying the rest day, refreshing and recharging for the 5 days to follow.

Paulo Goncalves, Overall: DNF

I suffered from dizziness and a numb right hand due to compression of some vertebra, which is why I stayed in hospital for a night. But they’ve told me there’s nothing serious and I feel fine now. The 2019 Dakar ended earlier for me than I expected. It’s a shame because I was taking it easy with a constant pace, but I still fell and this is what happened. What’s done is done and I can’t take it back. We’ll just have to accept it and move on.

Taichi Honda, Monster Energy Honda Team Rally Large Project Leader

We are spending the rest day back here in Arequipa. Normally the rest day is a whole day of relaxation for the riders and a chance for the mechanics to thoroughly take care of and prepare the bikes for the rest of the race, but because tomorrow’s stage’s starting point is some distance away, the riders will start off at 17:00 today, heading to a town called Camana. Because of this, the team started to work on the bikes last night after the riders returned to the bivouac after completing the Marathon, and finishing the last set-ups this morning, the bikes are in top condition, ready to go. The riders had a relaxing rest day and have now received their road books and are preparing to depart. The competition starts again tomorrow and we intend to raise the pace fighting for the win. The Monster Energy Honda Team appreciates your support.