N°52 Bike RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM
driver
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MATTHIAS WALKNER

(aut) 1.78m / 80kg

Hobbies

Mountain biking, on-road motorbiking and barbecues with friends

Sponsors

KTM, Red Bull, Motorex, Land Rover, Shoei, 100%, AE, Akrapovic, Kini, WingsForLife, Quabus, IDH, Spiluttini, AlpineStars, TechnoGym, Günther Tore, Gmundner Keramik

2020: 5th
2019: 2nd (2 stage wins)
2018: 1st (1 stage win)
2017: 2nd (1 stage win)
2016: Ab. Stage 7
2015: Ab. Stage 10 (1 stage win)

2020: Andalucia Rally (6th)
2019: Atacama Rally (7th), Morocco Rally (7th)
2018: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (4th), Atacama Rally (4th), Desafio Ruta 40 (4th), Morocco Rally (2nd); FIM World Championship (3rd)
2017: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (3rd), Qatar Cross-Country Rally (3rd), Atacama Rally (6th), Desafio Ruta 40 (5th), Morocco Rally (1st); FIM World Championship (3rd)
2016: Atacama Rally (6th), Morocco Rally (7th)
2015: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (31st), Qatar Cross-Country Rally (7th), Sardegna Rally (1st), Atacama Rally (2nd), Morocco Rally (2nd); FIM World Championship (1st)
2014: Hellas Rally (1st), Morocco Rally (11th)
2012: MX3 World Champion
2012: Morocco Rally
2011: MX1 World Champion
2010: MX1 World Champion

Interview

“I have been really consistent at the Dakar”

Few riders can boast as impressive a Dakar record in recent years as Matthias Walkner. The Austrian finished on the podium in three consecutive editions between 2017 and 2019, winning the rally in 2018, and managed to come 5th in Saudi Arabia last year despite suffering with illness. In the Red Bull TV documentary 'One Track Back' -which charts his remarkable journey from a serious crash at Dakar 2016 to victory at Dakar 2018- the 34-year-old admits that he is by no means the greatest talent of the century, but that "with ambition and will, you can achieve a lot". Boy has he proved it! Having pursued a career in skiing as a boy, Matthias began riding relatively late, when his father bought him a motocross bike at the age of 14. In his very first race, in Fresach, he came second against boys who had been riding for years. Matthias continued to improve and became the first Austrian to be crowned MX3 world champion in 2012, before switching to rally raid on the advice of his mentor Heinz Kinigadner. It was love at first sight, with Matthias explaining that he'd experienced more in a single day of rally raid than during a whole season of motocross. He took to the demanding discipline like a duck to water, winning his first rally in Greece in 2014, and then sensationally claiming the FIM cross-country rallies world title in 2015. The Dakar was a slightly tougher nut to crack. He was forced to abandon with food poisoning on his debut in 2015 -although a stage win hinted at his potential- and then in 2016 he suffered a serious crash on Stage 7, resulting in a broken femur. After undergoing intensive rehabilitation, Matthias made a stunning comeback at Dakar 2017, finishing second behind Red Bull KTM Factory teammate Sam Sunderland in one of the most challenging recent editions. He then went one better at Dakar 2018, making history as the first Austrian winner in the bikes. Having already savoured one Dakar victory, Matthias will be gunning for glory again in Saudi Arabia, although he acknowledges that you need a healthy slice of luck to win the world's toughest rally. Alongside fellow former champions Sunderland and Toby Price, he will be determined to help KTM get back to winning ways after Honda and Ricky Brabec ended their long streak at Dakar 2020. He will also be sporting lucky 52, his old motocross number, as he goes in search of another podium.

“I have been really consistent at the Dakar. In 2017 and 2019 I had a bit of bad luck because there were some small issues with the roadbook. And in 2020 I finished 5th because I made a mistake that stopped me fighting for the podium. But in 2018 a lot of things paid off! I think that finishing three times in a row on the podium and then staying in the top 5 is a solid achievement. My secret is to keep working hard and keep pushing. I put a lot of passion into my work, because I really love my job and I love that I can still race and do rally raid. I'm really thankful for the life I have, and this keeps my pace and motivation super high. The first year in Saudi Arabia? I enjoyed the first week a lot, because it was a really nice mix of tricky navigation, dunes, sandy pistes, some stony stuff. But the second week was a bit strange; it was pretty fast and I felt a bit ill for a couple of days. You and your body are always on the limit, so you can catch something pretty quick. But all in all, it was a good race for me. It's true that when you know the taste of winning, you want more of the same! But in the end, for me, being on the podium has more or less the same taste, because on such a long race there are so many things that you can't really control, that are out of your hands. It's not just about being the best, you also need a bit of luck. Of course I want to win, but I think the pace is getting higher and higher, and the level of rider is getting better and better. It's getting more difficult! I can say I'm one of the guys who can fight for the podium or the win. I think at KTM we can be really happy to have won so many times in a row before that. Every streak has to come to an end, but of course we're still super hungry to jump back to winning ways. I think we all have a really high level. I certainly have some good skills, I'm talented, but there are other, stronger riders. It's super cool that we can choose our numbers this year. I chose my old motocross racing number, and now I love it when I see my bike with the 52. I hope it brings me luck."

Vehicle

RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM

  • Mark : KTM
  • Model : 450 FACTORY
  • Performance tuner : Red Bull KTM Factory Team
  • Assistance : Red Bull KTM Factory Team
  • Class : G1.1 A.S.O. Elites

Ranking 2021

Scratch Stage General
0 18 18 18
1 3 3 3
2 69 69 46
3 3 3 39
4 23 23 34
5 8 8 29
6 5 5 24
7 17 17 24
8 8 8 21
9 6 5 15
10 5 5 13
11 5 5 11
12 3 3 9

All news of M. Walkner

Newsflashes - 06/01 09:44 [GMT +3] - Moto

Walkner already at the first time check

Matthias Walkner has bounced back from his stroke of bad luck on Monday and holds a two-second lead over Toby Price at the first WP. Only 11 bikers have started so far.

Newsflashes - 05/01 09:10 [GMT +3] - Moto

Benavides still leads

Kevin Benavides is maintaining his lead ahead of Toby Price. The Australian trails by a little more than 20 seconds while Matthias Walkner, who lost almost two hours on Monday due to a technical problem, completes the top three, 1’21 behind the current stage leader. The Honda and the two KTM lead the first Yamaha on today’s stage, ridden by Caimi Franco.

...

Newsflashes - 04/01 10:20 [GMT +3] - Moto

Walkner is on the move again

Matthias Walkner, who suffered a technical problem in the first kilometres, has finally managed to resume the special. However, the Austrian has lost 2 hours and 15 minutes repairing his KTM...

Newsflashes - 04/01 08:06 [GMT +3] - Moto

Technical problem for Walkner

Matthias Walkner is experiencing a tough start to the special. The Austrian has more or less immediately encountered a problem linked to his gears or clutch. The official KTM rider, third in in the general standings, risks big losses today if he is not able to fix the problem quickly. In the meantime, his main rivals are starting to reach the first time check point...

Newsflashes - 03/01 12:57 [GMT +3] - Moto

Kevin Benavides and Matthias Walkner right behind Price

Kevin Benavides and Matthias Walkner were the other big winners of the day after finishing second and third, respectively, about half a minute behind Toby Price. The three men set the tune for a scorching start to the Dakar.

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