Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge 2022
Positive start for Monster Energy Honda Team in the first stage of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge
The first stage of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge brought the riders to the bivouac situated in the middle of the Liwa desert after a 262-kilometre special raced over dunes and tracks.
It was ‘in at the deep end’ today for the riders who had to immediately face a highly physical 262-kilometre timed special stage. Almost half of the decisive section for the day’s classification took place over dunes, alternating with fast-paced sandy stretches of track.
Starting from rear positions, the Monster Energy Honda Team riders were able to pull back positions and, more importantly, make up time on the frontrunners. Pablo Quintanilla finished in an upbeat second place today, whilst Nacho Cornejo in sixth and Ricky Brabec in seventh, were among the top finishers. In the end, a penalty for Quintanilla saw him drop down the order to sixth place while fellow countryman Cornejo moves up one position.
Tomorrow’s stage will once again play out in the Liwa area, with 316 kilometres of special out of a total 453-kilometre route. The stage is the first leg of the marathon stage, meaning riders will be unable to receive any mechanical assistance once the special is finished until they reach the bivouac at Qsar al Sarab on the following day.