Danilo Petrucci’s final day of action on the Tech3 KTM ahead of the scheduled break was cut short on Friday as stage six was cancelled after 160kms.
The Italian had the holeshot after his impressive Thursday performance, but with the bikes traversing a route already carved up by the four wheel classes yesterday, it was a gruelling and dangerous affair.
Petrucci fell after just three minutes, gauging his elbow but able to continue. Monster Energy Yamaha’s Ross Branch, however, was not so lucky, sustaining a broken leg after suffering a similar fate just behind.
GasGas rider’s Daniel Sanders and Sam Sunderland led the stage as it was cut short due to safety concerns, with the pair crossing the checkpoint two minutes apart after just under an hour of action. Petrucci was 12 minutes adrift in 40th.
Saturday brings a well needed and well earned rest for the Dakar caravan with stage seven’s 402km special, and 299km liaison, resuming from Riyadh > Al Dawadimi on Sunday.
“Yesterday I won, so today I had to start first, on the same track that yesterday did cars and trucks, so hundreds of 4x4 with hundreds horsepower,” Petrucci said after a difficult Friday.
“Everything was completely destroyed with stones hidden in the dust. At km3 I found a step in the middle of the sand when I was going at 100 km/h more or less, it did send me to the moon. I restarted but I was not really focused.
"Rider started after me, Ross Branch, did the same but he has broken his leg. Fortunately at that moment we got the helicopter above us that landed and sent the rider in an other route. We arrived at km160 in nine riders when they told us the race was cancelled for safety. I’m doing good, only some stitches on my arm.”