Marc Coma, KTM the favorites in Dakar’s cycle clash

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Defending Dakar Rally champion Marc Coma’s pursuit of a fifth motorcycle victory in the event – and a 14th consecutive triumph for manufacturer KTM – headlines the two-wheel category before Sunday’s official start.

After capturing his sixth FIM cross-country rallies world championship in 2014, Coma leads a strong KTM Dakar team that also features the event’s last two bike class runner-ups in Ruben Faria (2013) and Jordi Viladoms (2014), as well as the UK’s Sam Sunderland, who scored a stage win last year for the Honda factory team.

Needless to say, KTM has plenty of bullets in the gun just in case their leader, Coma, encounters problems along the journey through South America.

However, Honda is determined to break their iron grip on the world’s toughest rally.

The biggest weapon for its Team HRC is Joan Barreda, who had five stage wins in last year’s Dakar but finished seventh overall after a crash and electrical problems on his bike in the next-to-last stage.

“Everything is great after a whole year of hard work,” Barreda said in a release issued today by Honda. “The hour of truth is upon us, and everything is all set. We’ll start off taking it easy in the first, short stage, but in the second we will have to start pushing for positions and try and stay ahead.

“From then on, we’ll take it day by day, see how the race plays out, and try and stay as focused as possible and avoid messing up. The aim is to establish positions for the second week which give us race-winning options.”

In 2015, he’ll be joined on the factory team by four others: Paulo Gonçalves, Hélder Rodrigues, Jeremías Israel and Laia Sanz. This quartet can hold its own with Barreda as well – particularly Gonçalves and Rodrigues, who finished second and fourth respectively in the 2014 world championship (Barreda was third).

Looking to be interlopers in the KTM-Honda war is Yamaha, which got three stage wins out of Cyril Despres last year but won’t have his services now as he’s switched to the car class and Peugeot.

However, Yamaha still has in the fold one Olivier Pain, who joined Coma and Viladoms on the overall podium last year. As the scrutineering winds down today in Buenos Aires, he’s ready to get going.

“The start is only a few hours away now and you can feel the anticipation,” he said through Yamaha. “The nice thing about the Dakar though is that it really is like a big family. We spend a lot of time together and share something very intense and that creates strong friendships. Plus, of course, this isn’t circuit racing, it isn’t a contact sport, essentially we are racing against the clock not each other.

“Obviously there is some rivalry but, for me at least, my biggest challenger is myself and the mental battle I have to stay focused and not make any mistakes. Then comes the desert, which must be treated with respect, and which is always a serious adversary.”

Max Verstappen is PointsBet favorite to score sixth staight in 2022 Singapore Grand Prix

PointsBet 2022 Singapore odds
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Max Verstappen is the PointsBet Sportsbook odds favorite to win the 2022 Singapore Grand Prix on the Marina Bay Street course to stretch his current win streak to six consecutive. He shows odds of -200 this week.

Formula 1 did not compete in Singapore in 2020 or 2021 due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but Verstappen has podium finishes in his last two attempts on this track. he was second in 2018 and third in 2019. In the first 15 races of this season, he has failed to stand on the podium only twice and has an average finish of 2.73.

With minus odds, the way to determine a payout is by subtraction. In order for a bettor to earn $100, he must wager $200 this week; with that wager, he will get back his initial stake and winnings of $100.

For bettors more comfortable with fractional odds, a bet of +300 is the same as 3/1.

Charles Leclerc is ranked second this week with +400 odds. He has two previous Singapore GP starts to his credit with a best of second in 2019. He is coming off back-to-back podium finishes with a third in the Dutch GP and a second at Monza.

Ranked third is Carlos Sainz, Jr. with a line of +1100. He has top-five finishes in four of his last five starts, but only one of these, a third in the Belgian GP, was on the podium. Sainz is one of four winners other than Verstappen this season. His victory came in the British GP.

Lewis Hamilton shows a line of +1200. His last win came last fall in the Saudi Arabian GP and the Mercedes team has struggled to contend for victory in 2022. They are improving, however, with eight top-fives in the last nine races. Hamilton has two wins in his last three Singapore starts, which came in 2017 and 2018.

Rounding out the top five is Hamilton’s teammate George Russell at +1800. He has not won, but has shown remarkable consistency with top-fives in all but one race. Notably, his only bad finish came in his home GP in England. Russell has one previous start at Marina Bay; he finished last in the 2019 race. He finished fourth in 2019 as part of a four-race streak of top-fives.

The most recent Singapore GP winner from 2019, Sebastian Vettel is a longshot at +50000.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner, and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.

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