Originally Posted by Flood
As opposed to Mr. Troy, I actually have to work, so my prediction will be a bit more...concise.
1. KTM factory
3. KTM factory
HRC will provide an excellent team and lots of support and will be able to mount enough pressure on Mustaccio and Pretty Boy to at least split their dominance.
All Bordone bikes will DNF due to mechanicals.
Way to put your self "out there" and make such a bold prediction five months out from the start gun FLOOD
I like it!
1. 2. 3. appraisal graphically illustrates what I think wilkinsonk
and too old
are getting at... and that is that the HRC boy's will be setting their sights on the targets pinned on Eet's okay Coma
, and Cyril Esprit's
backs, in the hopes of an upset.
But... way to put the kybosh
on the B-F
outfits new birthday present...
Unfortunately, my gut feeling is... that you are right (it is a big possibility) and I agree with you. Hard to motivate perhaps; given that we haven't even seen/heard of a working race prototype in testing or participated in any other rally events thus far... but that in itself points towards the likelihood that they could experience some "teething problems" come DAKAR time.
Originally Posted by wilkinsonk
Let's say that hypothetically the lead men of the HRC and BF teams are able to minimize the big time gaps that we've seen in the past. Do you think that this might bring enough pressure on Coma/Despres to force mistakes? I realize that they have both felt the pressure before, but it seems that it was only from each other. I wonder if having a few more players breathing down their backs might contribute to some additional excitement at the front? Would KTM still make the engine changes if the competition were a lot closer in time than last year? I just imagine if Helder were 20-25 minutes back when it came time to change engines, would the KTM tactical decision change?
At the very least this coming edition will be a lot more interesting.
Hypothetically speaking Ken... here is what I reckon the KTM management and aliens support council will be doing (as soon as the details of the course/shedule are made known from ASO).
They will carefully go through each stage, using the overall distances given (for liason and specials) as well as the overnight bivouac locations, and using resources such as google earth, mapsource etc. try to establish a "feel" for the terrain and nature of each days competition.
Already we know - from the fact that the rally is starting in Lima, and that from last years event; the close proximity and abundance of tough desert dunes/terrain in Peru - that the beginning of the rally this year will probably
(likely) be "tougher" than the last four editions that have started in Argentiana. The inhabited rural and agricultural area (approx 500 km radius) around Buenos Aires creates somewhat of a "buffer zone" as far as hard core off road terrain is concerned. Typically since 2009 we have seen the first couple of days consist of not much more than gravel roads and farm tracks. Nothing in the way of "off piste navigation" and possibly easier for a non-alien rider to wick it up and stay in touch with the pack. Realistically, in the last four editions of Dakar, the "tough stuff" has not started untill day three or even four/five.
What Lima/Chilé present as far as a start location for DAKAR, is that the ASO can set (almost from the outskirts of Lima) some very demanding (both technical and navigation wise) off piste, desert terrain stages, right from day one... no "soft start", provided that is what they want to achieve.
If KTM do their homework thoroughly (and you KNOW they will) the alien camp will be looking to find a stage early in the rally (off piste/difficult navigation), where they can put a big hole into their pursuers timewise, stamp their control on things early.. Both Marc and Cyril are very competent on GPS nav (possibly Coma slightly moreso that Despres I get the impression) and with the exception of Helder and Chaleco (possibly Ullevalsäter also), I cannot think of many others riders who can navigate quickly, decisively from up front, out in an "off piste" situation.
So in the opening two or three days, if the KTM squad see an opportunity where they can push hard in a longer/arduos "off piste" navigation stage; while their machines and themselves still fresh and possibly "surprise" their HRC/B-F pursuers while they are still finding their "sea legs"... there is the chance for them to open that 20 perhaps 25 minute time gap (that wilkinsonk
mentioned earlier) back to the "others" early on... Peterhansel was once the master of this tactic.
Remembering of course, that in rallies; each days start order is determined by the previous days stage result (not overall)... That is to say the fastest on previous leg starts first the following day. If by day four/five the aliens have been able to successfully "run away and hide" and create a sufficient buffer in the Peruvian Chiléan hard stuff... from day five/six onwards, they can fall in behind and keep an eye on their main protagonists; as long as they keep them in sight... they are in the lead. It forces the (perhaps not so used to leading) opposition from HRC etc. to try and catch up from in front (not attack from behind). Psychologically a very different kettle of fish.
So in fact, it could
turn out be the exact opposite of the "minimize the time gaps to up front"
that wilkinsonk suggest in the previous post... Maybe the "others" will have to lead from the front...instead of chase from behind. That is what is required to win a DAKAR these days (true in both the auto and moto categories) and that's something that only
the aliens have shown they have the ability to do regularly
in the past.
I am pretty certain that almost all teams have a pre-determined service/engine change plan (based on their own testing and service intervall protocols) that they go to DAKAR with. But all of these get altered along the way, due to unplanned mechanicals, tactical decisions depending on where/what the competition have done etc. So what KTM will do regards engine transplants etc. at this point in time...? Impossible to say, other than; it most likely WILL play a factor - no doubt.