Stage 2 of the 2019 Dakar Rally was the first long stage of the season and posted some challenging stretches for the riders. Participants travelled a total distance of 552 km between Pisco and San Juan de Marcona, with 342 km of the competitive section. The day saw riders face navigational challenges in the dunes apart from the multiple tracks left by cars that started earlier in the day. Leading the charge between Hero MotoSport and Sherco TVS was the latter as rookie Lorenzo Santolino climbed the ranks from 24th in Stage 1 to finish 14th at the end of the Day 2. The young rider rode for most of the stage in top 10, promising a brilliant show in the days to come. The other riders, meanwhile had a host of other challenges at both camps only to overcome the same to complete the stage at the finish line.
Speaking on his improved run, Lorenzo Santolino said, "I stayed consistent throughout the stage trying to push a little when I could, I felt good in the dunes and I was careful in the fech fech. Everything is going well with the motorcycle and the team."
For teammate Adrien Metge, the rider finished 15th at the end of Stage 2, up from 23rd yesterday, moving into top 20. The rider finished the stage in 3h42min57s, +21min 36s off from the stage leader KTM's Matthias Walkner. Speaking on his consistent performance, Adrien said, " "It was a nice day for me and I had a good time on my bike, which worked very well, we followed the tracks of the cars, but tomorrow we go first so we'll have to concentrate on navigation"
For brother Michael, it wasn't the best of days as the rider suffered a fuel outage 7 km from the CP finishing 69th overall, 1hmin32s behind the race leader. That said, the Frenchman has enough time to make up for the lost position in the following days. Speaking about his performance, Michael said, "It was a challenging stage for me. I lost a lot of time but it's the Dakar and there are still a lot of kilometers to go. I will give it my best shot."
Making progress was India's Aravind KP who finished 61st after starting 70th. The steady performance will help Aravind not only better his time but also his overall position as aims to finish the Dakar Rally this year. Speaking about his day, Aravind said, "I feel better on the bike . The stage was difficult with lot of dunes and different grounds. I do my best to keep myself and the bike safe until the end of this Dakar."
At Hero MotoSports Team Rally, Stage 2 was full of challenges for its three riders. Oriol Mena continued to be the fastest of all and finished 16th overall, dropping from 14th in Stage 1. Speaking on a successful day, Mena said, "Today was a really good stage for me. The stage had a mix of hard piste, dunes and some seaside as well, so it was interesting to ride. It was a crazy fast stage but I felt good today and the bike performed perfectly. So another day in the bag and that's what matters for me."
For teammate CS Santosh, Stage 2 was trickier one owing to clutch issue. The rider started off well for the first 80-90 km, but had to slow down and ride cautiously to conserve the clutch till the finish line in 37th place. The rider has dropped down to 33rd overall from 20th yesterday in the standings. Speaking about his challenges, Santosh said, "Day 2 for me started really well and I had a good rhythm going for the first 80 to 90 km. Then on I started sensing some trouble with my clutch, and decided to ease off to make it to the finish line safely. Had a good stage today and now we fix the glitch and go racing again tomorrow."
Easing his way back in Dakar, Joaquim Rodrigues ended the day in 34th place, and 32nd overall, having developed a fuel issue. JRod had to stop and attend to a fuel issue that was only solved at the refuelling stop but saw the rider lose precious time. Rodrigues said, "I started the stage well but soon I developed a fuel issue. I had to stop to fix that and somehow make it to the refueling point. I lost a lot of time in the process. After making it to the refueling point, I pushed hard, got into a good rhythm and made up some time as well. Overall, I am happy to finish the stage and look forward to Day 3."
The riders will now move to Day 3 of the rally starting from San Juan de Marcona to Arequipa travelling a total distance of 799 km. This is longer than Stage 2 and includes a competitive section of 331 km that is full of dunes.