Dakar champion Price gets KTM contract extension
Reigning Dakar Rally bikes champion Toby Price will remain part of the KTM team until the end of 2019, the Austrian firm has announced ahead of the 2017 running of the South American event.
The 29-year-old Australian won the two-wheeled Dakar title at only his second attempt earlier this year, winning five stages and extending a 15-year KTM winning streak in the motorcycle category.
He returns to spearhead the Red Bull-backed factory team's line-up for the 2017 edition, which begins on 2 January, and will take part in at least another two Dakars as a KTM works rider.
"I’m very privileged and pumped to get this," said Price. "It’s going to be the best thing for me so I can just concentrate on what I need to do and that’s riding motorcycles and racing as fast as we can.
"It’s exciting times, a great team and a good crew of people. Now I’m just looking forward to what the future holds, to putting our heads down and doing the work.
"It’s going to be a great time and I’m just hoping we can deliver on the results and do the job we’ve been contracted to do. I can’t wait, and I’m looking forward to what the years ahead bring.”
KTM also confirmed that former stage winner Sam Sunderland, who missed the 2016 Dakar due to injury, will also remain part of the team until 2019.
"The bike and the team have been great to me in the past years," said the British rider. The team supported me through a recent injury and helped me to come back and fight for the top positions.
"I’m really excited about the years to come and we will keep moving forward in the same direction, and with the same goal in our sights.”
Meo sits out 2017 race
Joining Price and Sunderland in the four-strong Red Bull KTM line-up for the 2017 Dakar are Matthias Walkner, who crashed out of the 2016 event, and rookie Ivan Ramirez, who stands in for an injured Antoine Meo.
On his first Dakar appearance, Meo finished seventh overall with two stage wins this year, but will have to sit out the 2017 running due to pain in his right wrist and is set to undergo corrective surgery.
Finally, Women's Enduro world champion Laia Sanz, 15th overall in the 2016 Dakar, will ride a fifth KTM factory-backed bike on her seventh attempt at the rally raid classic.
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