Former MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci wins Dakar stage 5

Former MotoGP rider Danilo Petrucci wins Dakar stage 5

Danilo Petrucci of Tech3 KTM won the 395km special on Thursday, becoming the first MotoGP rider to win in Dakar.

When stage five action was halted owing to “pressure placed on the medical plane,” Petrucci had only just completed the route and finished second, barely four minutes and 14 seconds off his teammate at KTM, two-time Dakar champion Toby Price.

Price, on the other hand, was given a six-minute penalty for overspeeding, handing Danilo Petrucci Stage 5 win.

“I’m crying like a baby… I can’t write,” Petrucci reacted on social media as the news of his historic performance surfaced, only six days into his Dakar debut.

He later recounted the hardships of the day’s stage in a KTM press statement.

“Today was quite a long day… I really wanted to learn and improve my navigation, so I didn’t push too hard at the beginning,” said Petrucci.

“After one corner there was a large dune with a group of camels on the other side. “

“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,” the Italian continued.

“After that I eased off a bit and [team-mate] Kevin Benavides caught up with me and we rode together towards the finish.”

“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.”

Regardless of having never raced in a rally raid before, Petrucci has kept up with the leaders. He also set the third-fastest time in stage four, but was reprimanded for speeding. Besides that, he had shown the potential for a great overall finish until a fuel pump problem on stage two destroyed his ambitions.

Petrucci learned he had misplaced his phone and was unable to contact his team for repair instructions, requiring him to seek assistance from the organizers, costing him an 11-hour penalty.

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