Dakar Rally 2022, Day 5: MotoGP veteran Danilo Petrucci wins stage as bike rookie


Danilo Petrucci, a Dakar Rally rookie but with a decade of world-class motorbike experience, became the first MotoGP rider to win a stage at the endurance classic during an eventful Day 5.

Petrucci was announced as the winner of the bike division in Stage 5 via a tweet Thursday from the Dakar Rally. Though stage results initially listed Toby Price as finishing 4 minutes, 14 seconds ahead of Petrucci, the Australian was knocked off the podium to fifth by a 6-minute penalty in the 560-kilometer loop stage around Riyadh.

It’s been an eventful Dakar debut for Petrucci, who had broken his left ankle last month while training for the event. The Italian then had to be rescued by helicopter after a mechanical failure in Stage 2, but he was able to return for the third stage.

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Petrucci raced in MotoGP from 2012-21, winning twice over 169 starts in the premier motorcycle series.

“When I started today, speed was not my focus,” Petrucci said. “I was working on my navigation. Then after a while, I started to throw down. I eased off again in the dunes because I’m still worried about my ankle.”

Petrucci grew emotional when told of his stage victory.

“I wanted to leave the mark in motorsports, and today I made it,” he said.

Ricky Brabec, who became the first American to win a Dakar division in 2020, had his best bike stage so far this year, finishing 92 seconds behind Petrucci in fourth. U.S. riders Mason Klein (sixth) and Andrew Short (seventh) also had solid showings.

But the stage was disastrous for another American. According to the Dakar Rally website, Skyler Howes will be unable to complete the Dakar after a fall. In a news dispatch on the site, Howes suffered ankle and shoulder injuries and had no memory of the fall. “He started feeling unwell immediately after arriving (at the finish line). … Howes was taken to hospital to undergo further examinations.”

Howes had entered the day in eighth overall, the top American in the bike division.

The Dakar Rally ran into some logistical issues that caused the bike class to be interrupted. According to event organizers, race management stopped Stage 5 in the bike and Dakar Classic divisions for the safety of competitors because of “great demand placed on the medical aircraft. … The car race which is taking place in a different sector with independent aircraft resources has not been affected.” As of 9:30 a.m. ET, the bike results for Stage 5 on the Dakar Rally still were incomplete.

In other divisions, Seth Quintero continued his tear through the light prototype as the American won his third consecutive stage and fifth overall. Quintero, 19, is out of contention for the overall class title after falling more than 16 hours behind because of a differential failure in Stage 2.

“I’m very happy to be at the finishing line because it was a very rough stage,” Quintero said. ” I had a couple of issues today, really just the power steering about 150 km from the finish and then I was really just trying to bring it home. But I’m stoked with another win, and hopefully, we can keep clicking them off and break that record of nine wins in one Dakar. For sure, I think we have cracked the code to run on a safe pace but also a fast pace. We’ve been doing very well, keeping the car together, staying very consistent, not making too many mistakes and really just trying to hit our marks. I think we’ve hit a pretty good spot, and hopefully, we can keep going.”

Nasser Al-Attiyah maintained the overall lead after Stage 5 in the car division, which was won by teammate Henk Lategan. Al-Attiyah finished eighth and leads by more than 35 minutes over Stage 5 runner-up Sebastien Loeb. After winning Stage 4, Al-Attiyah had started first, which was considered a disadvantage because of the lack of lines left by the bikes (which were on a different route).

“It was a good day and I am quite happy to finish day five because there were no lines from the bikes, but Mathieu did a really good job. Seb caught us in the last hundred kilometers. We stayed together and played around a bit: sometimes, he was in front, sometimes, I was in front. I think we did a good job. Seb did a good job and tried to get in front of us. Sometimes he made a mistake then we made a mistake and, in the end, we shared the drive to the finish together. On the last part, he made a small mistake, and I took the right way and we finished in front of him.

“There is still a long way to go. We need to be clever and avoid any problems.”

Said Loeb: “The stage was like we expected. Nasser was first on the road without the motorbikes, without any lines and that’s really complicated. I caught him on the stage, and at one point we tried to pass him in the dunes by taking another way. We finally ended up in front, but then he was behind and followed our tracks, he caught us again and we were fighting for 200 kilometers trying to pass each other. But each time when he was in front, or I was in front the other one was following and at the first mistake, he was passing… It was impossible to create another gap, so we carried on to the finishing line.

“We took a few minutes from him; that was the plan in the morning, so we are happy with that. Big gains were not possible today, for sure. Starting just behind him opening the road meant it was not possible to make a big gap. The rally is still long, and we’ll see the next days. We are trying to stay focused on what we have to do and we’ll see how it is. Anything can happen.”

Here are the stage winners and the top three overall in each category after Day 5:


Stage 5 winner: Henk Lategan (ZAF), Toyota Gazoo Racing, 3:53:28. Overall: 1. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT), Toyota Gazoo Racing, 17:24:23; 2. Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Bahrain Raid Extreme, 17:59:33; 3. Lucio Alvarez (ARG), Overdrive Toyota, 18:15:38.


Stage 5 winner: Danilo Petrucci (ITA), Tech 3 KTM Factory Racing, 3:23:46. Overall (provisional through Stage 4): 1. Sam Sunderland (GBR), GasGas Factory Racing, 19:01:50; 2. Matthias Walkner (AUS), GasGas Factory Racing, 19:04:19; 3. Adrien Van Beveren (FRA), Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team, 19:07:49. Other U.S. notables: 11. Andrew Short, Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team, 19:36:47; 12. Mason Klein, BAS Dakar KTM Racing Team, 19:37:51; 16. Ricky Brabec, Monster Energy Honda, 19:50:17; 46. Skyler Howes, Husqvarna Factory Racing, 27:15:26.


Stage 5 winner: Andrey Karginov (RAF), Kamaz-Master, 4:01:02. Overall: 1. Dmitry Sotnikov (RAF), Kamaz-Master 19:09:20; 2. Eduard Nikolaev (RAF), Kamaz-Master, 19:19:13; 3. Anton Shibalov (RAF), Kamaz-Master, 19:35:47.

Light prototype

Stage 5 winner: Seth Quintero (USA), Red Bull Off-Road Junior Team, 4:21:10. Overall: 1. Francisco Lopez Contardo (CHL), EKS — South Racing, 20:38:29; 2. Sebastian Eriksson (SWE), EKS — South Racing, 20:58:45; 3. Philippe Pinchedez (FRA), Pinch Racing, 22:42:07. Notable: 25. Seth Quintero (USA), 37:00:21.


Stage 5 winner: Rodrigo Luppi De Oliveira (BRA), 4:33:12. Overall: 1. Rodrigo Luppi De Oliveira (BRA), South Racing Can-Am, 21:21:33; 2. Austin Jones (USA), Can-Am Factory South Racing, 21:26:00; 3. Michal Goczal (POL), Cobant-Energylandia Rally Team, 21:43:58.


Stage 5 winner: Alexandre Giroud (FRA), Yamaha Racing – SMX -Drag’on, 4:11:47. Overall: 1. Alexandre Giroud (FRA), Yamaha Racing – SMX -Drag’on, 23:51:48; 2. Pablo Copetti (USA), Del Amo Motorsports/Yamaha Rally Team, 24:19:28; 3. Manuel Andujar (ARG), 7240 Team, 24:50:27.


DAY 1: Nasser Al-Attiyah takes overall lead as Audi drivers struggle

DAY 2: Sebastien Loeb wins; Austin Jones takes SSV lead

DAY 3: Led by Seth Quintero’s rebound victory, U.S. drivers and riders shine

DAY 4: Overall leader Nasser Al-Attiyah wins stage after penalty

In tears after the Indianapolis 500, Santino Ferrucci is proud of his third-place finish


INDIANAPOLIS – Santino Ferrucci was in tears after last Sunday’s 107th Indy 500.

The AJ Foyt Racing driver from Woodbury, Connecticut had just driven the best race of his career, only to have the final yellow flag of the race fly just a second or two before he would have been in position for the win.

The field had just been given the green flag with four laps to go and Ferrucci was charging in the No. 14 Chevrolet into Turn 1, about to pass both Josef Newgarden for second place, which would have put him in prime position to draft past Marcus Ericsson for the victory.

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But IndyCar race control issued the third red flag stoppage in the final 15 laps of the race and with Ferrucci 2 inches behind Newgarden’s Chevrolet, he was lined up third.

When IndyCar had the remaining drivers refire the engines for three-quarters of a lap behind the Pace Car followed by a one-lap green and white flag dash to the finish, Ferrucci knew there was little he could do to get past the front two cars.

Newgarden passed Ericsson on the backstretch and went on to take the checkered flag for his first Indianapolis 500 victory. Ericsson was just 0.0974-of-a-second away from winning the Indy 500 for the second year in a row and Ferrucci was 0.5273-of-a-second away from winning his first career NTT IndyCar Series race.

It was a fantastic effort for Ferrucci, but to come so close to winning the biggest race in the world, the kid from Connecticut was heartbroken.

“We were so good this month,” Ferrucci told NBC Sports after climbing out of his car. “When you are that fast all month long, you just want it that much more. The way we did everything to finish the race under green, it’s great for the fans, IndyCar did the right thing, but sometimes it’s a tough pill to swallow restarting third like that when you are really second.

“It’s all timing and scoring. That doesn’t lie. If it says we are third, we are third. It’s very bittersweet.”

When Ericsson and Newgarden were both “Unleashing the Dragon” with the draft-breaking zigzag moves at the end of the race, Ferrucci admitted he was hoping it would play into his favor if those two made contact ahead of him.

“I was hoping and praying because when you are third, that’s all you can do – hope and pray,” Ferrucci said.

His prayers were not answered, but his determination to win the Indianapolis 500 remains undeterred.

He has never finished outside of the top 10 in the Indianapolis 500. Ferrucci was seventh as a rookie in 2019, fourth in 2020, sixth in 2021, 10th last year and third this past Sunday.

“I love this place,” the driver said. “I love coming here. I’m always so comfortable in the race. We are good at avoiding all of the accidents that happened in front of us.

“We will win it eventually. We have to.”

Ferrucci has proven he likes to rise to the big moments.

“I like the pressure,” he said. “We do well under pressure.

“But you have to take third, sometimes.

“We had a really good shot at winning this race. We made the most of it.”

Ferrucci continues to display the uncanny knack for racing hard and avoiding trouble. When he took the lead in the No. 14 car made famous by his team owner, legendary four-time Indianapolis 500 winner AJ Foyt, many of the fans in the crowd of 330,000 roared with approval.

Ferrucci was in front for 11 laps and was in prime position to pounce at the end, before the final 15 laps brought out red flag fever.

Because of that, and the timing of where he was when the last yellow light came on before the final red, put him in a difficult position to win the race.

“It’s just emotional, bittersweet,” he said. “It was emotional getting in the car, which was kind of strange because you feel like there’s a lot of people that really want this, the team really wants this.

“We worked so hard to be where we were. We ran out front all day long. It’s definitely one of the more difficult races that I’ve probably ever run, and just we also knew that we had a really good car.

“We got really close with Felix Rosenqvist when he was wrecking so very thankful, we were able to avoid that. And then yeah, coming to the end, I think on the second to final restart, me and Marcus battling it into 1, and obviously it going red when it did, it’s part of this place, it’s part of racing, it’s part of the Speedway.

“I’m just bummed. I’m sure Marcus Ericsson thinks the same thing I do.

“All three of us could have won it at any point in time.

“Yeah, it’s bittersweet.”

A few days have passed since Ferrucci was crying when he got out of the race car. He celebrated his birthday on Wednesday by mowing his lawn after a 12-hour drive back to his home in Texas. On Thursday morning, he flies to Detroit to get ready for this weekend’s Chevrolet Detroit Grand Prix on the streets of downtown Detroit.

It has given him a chance to reflect on the biggest weekend of his career.

“Everybody saw on national television I was basically crying,” Ferrucci said. “It’s just one of those competitor things in you that there was so much riding on that race, and it was going so well up until that — it finished really well.

“It wasn’t just pressure to perform but emotional pressure to just be there and to know that we probably had that race won, had it gone yellow two seconds later, it’s just kind of heartbreaking. But still, at the end of the day, you come home in third, to join Helio Castroneves and one other driver, (Harry Hartz, who finished second, second, fourth, fourth and second from 1922-1926), in five of your first five starts in top 10s. And, then you really start to look at what you’ve accomplished at the 500 in your first five starts with four different teams and what you did with A.J. Foyt — what we’ve done at AJ Foyt Racing, who hasn’t had a podium or top 3 since the year 2000 at the Speedway.

“There are so many positives, and that day could have been so much worse. We had so many close calls between pit lane and some of the crashes on track that at the end of the day I was just really, really happy.

“I went to bed that night knowing that I did the best I could, the team did the best they could, and that’s the track.”

Ferrucci stressed that he didn’t have a problem with IndyCar race control doing everything in their power to make sure the race finished the distance under green.

“The way that IndyCar finished under green was 100 percent correct for the fans,” Ferrucci said. “It didn’t affect anything for me. What affected me wasn’t the red, it was the yellow.

“The second it went yellow, had it gone yellow two seconds later had they waited, which you can’t wait when you’re crashing, so there’s nothing you can do, I was in third, I was about 6 inches behind Newgarden, and that’s very clear in the video.

“At the end of the day, nothing changed for me. The fact that they actually went red and restarted the race gave me that opportunity to win again. I just didn’t have a great restart because it’s chaotic when you just go. You’ve got to also remember there’s no restart zone.

“At that point when you’re going green for one lap, it was really cool to see the shootout, I’m not going to lie, but you know that they’re going green, so you were literally at the hands of the leader on a completely random — you could start going into 3 in the middle of 3 and 4 out of 4. He could start the race whenever he wanted to start the race instead of in the zone, so it was completely unpredictable.

“(Ericsson) had a really good jump, and I did not. That’s what took me out of the win at the end of the race. It had nothing to do with IndyCar or the red in my opinion.”

Ferrucci and rookie teammate Benjamin Pedersen helped put a smile on 88-year-old AJ Foyt’s face in what started as the one of the saddest months of Foyt’s life after his wife of 68 years, Lucy, died.

Foyt returned to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway dealing with grief, but for the past three weeks, he was able to see his racing team return to prominence.

I think he was really proud,” Ferrucci said of Foyt. “There’s truly two people that understood my emotions and felt my emotions on Sunday. A.J. was one, and Michael Cannon (his engineer) was the other.

“If you look at some of the photos from that day, you can kind of see it in my eyes, just — you really have to have it in your hands and then lose it in your hands to kind of understand that feeling of when you work that hard. You have to understand you’re coming from a team with two cars, a budget that’s a quarter of the size of Penske and Ganassi, and that’s all month long. We wanted it probably that much more than everybody else that day.

“To come up that short, A.J.’s finished second and third on dominant days in the ’70s, and he talked about those races, where we had the car to win. We were by far the best car at the end of that race. Once the Team McLarens were out of it and the 10 car and the 21 had the incident in pit lane, that left us.

“We were the car to win, and yeah, just sitting third knowing there’s nothing you can do, after all that hard work, yeah, it’s a feeling that very few people would understand.

“But he was incredibly proud of I think what the organization accomplished. I’m very proud of Larry and what Larry Foyt has done with the team because Larry has had control of this team since 2007, and to see him get his first podium as a team boss and team owner at the speedway was huge.

“I think everybody was incredibly proud of what we’ve accomplished.”

Follow Bruce Martin on Twitter at @BruceMartin_500