Monster Energy Honda Team rider Kevin Benavides sees his name inscribed in the Silk Way Rally history books as he becomes the first leader in the maiden outing of the motorcycle category. Barreda, posting fourth, and Cornejo both avoided mishaps.

The Silk Way Rally got underway today, Sunday, with a 50-kilometre curtain-raising special stage on route from Irkutsk to Baykalsk, which featured mountain tracks and riverbeds in the surroundings of Lake Baikal. The rain yesterday, which continued overnight, led to a mud-drenched affair, punctuated with some hazardous puddles. Riders with an enduro background faired better, while others employed low-risk, damage limitation strategies to avoid falls.

The quickest over the short distance proved to be Monster Energy Honda Team’s Argentine rider Kevin Benavides, who finished the timed special in just over 30 minutes to become the first race leader, some 36 seconds ahead of his brother.

Spanish ace Joan Barreda was the first of the trio to take the start and acquitted himself well to take the day’s fourth fastest time, while conceding little. Meanwhile, José Ignacio Cornejo finished in thirteen place after a cautious start to the rally.

The second stage of the Silk Way Rally will be held tomorrow, Monday. With the start in Baykalsk and the finish in Ulan Ude, riders can expect a 413.72-kilometre total trek including 207 km against the clock. The forest routes to be tackled will feature a fair dosage of small rocks.

Kevin Benavides

Kevin Benavides

I couldn’t ask for anything more! To start the race with a nice stage victory is always pleasing. Also, it will really boost my self-confidence which I needed a little. We have worked hard before the race and the results are starting to show. This race promises to surprise us with some very lovely places, but we have to continue working and pushing hard because we have only tackled the first of what will be a lot of tough days that lie ahead.

Monster Energy Honda Team
Joan Barreda

Joan Barreda

It was a short 50-kilometre stage, but it was a difficult, or rather, a complicated one. At the beginning there were many flooded parts with puddles full of plenty of water which made for an insecure ride. We even had a few slight scares, which meant that we had to proceed with caution. It has been a good warm-up, a great way to get a feel for the terrain, as yet unknown to us.

Monster Energy Honda Team
José Ignacio Cornejo

José Ignacio Cornejo

There was a lot of mud in the stage because of the rains that fell yesterday. I took things carefully not to make mistakes and avoid falling which would have affected my confidence. I am satisfied with what I have done out on a route that didn’t favour my riding style. It has not been a bad day and I hope to keep improving the pace a little as the race progresses.

Monster Energy Honda Team
Silk Way Rally

Russia-Mongolia-China, Russia

Rally 2019, Round 2

Sunday 7 Jul 2019, 11:48 UTC
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Points Pts. Team Constructor Constr. Time/Gap
1 Kevin Benavides ARG 25 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 00:30'51
2 Luciano Benavides ARG 20 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +0'36
3 Xavier de Soultrait FRA 16 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +0'51
4 Joan Barreda SPA 13 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +1'06
5 Sam Sunderland GBR 11 Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM +1'15
6 Paulo Goncalves POR 10 Hero Motorsports Team Rally Hero +1'36
7 Adrien van Beveren FRA 9 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +2'02
8 Franco Caimi 7 ARG 8 Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha +2'51
9 Andrew Short USA 7 Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna +3'01
10 Oriol Mena SPA 6 Hero Motorsports Team Rally Hero +3'31
11 Adam Tomiczek POL 5 KTM Orlen Rally Team KTM +4'15
12 Maciej Giemza POL 4 KTM Orlen Rally Team KTM +4'47
13 José Ignacio Cornejo CHI 3 Monster Energy Honda Team Honda +6'10
Provisional Standings
Sunday, 7 Jul 2019
# Rider Num Nationality Nat. Team Constructor Constr.
1 Kevin BENAVIDES ARG Monster Energy Honda Team Honda
2 Luciano BENAVIDES ARG Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM
3 Xavier DE SOULTRAIT FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha
4 Joan BARREDA SPA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda
5 Sam SUNDERLAND GBR Red Bull KTM Rally Factory Team KTM
6 Paulo GONCALVES POR Hero Motorsports Team Rally Hero
7 Adrien VAN BEVEREN FRA Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha
8 Franco CAIMI 7 ARG Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team Yamaha
9 Andrew SHORT USA Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna
10 Oriol MENA SPA Hero Motorsports Team Rally Hero
11 Adam TOMICZEK POL KTM Orlen Rally Team KTM
12 Maciej GIEMZA POL KTM Orlen Rally Team KTM
13 José Ignacio CORNEJO CHI Monster Energy Honda Team Honda