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

(aut) 1.78m / 83kg

Hobbies

Mountain biking, on-road motorbiking and barbecues with friends

Sponsors

KTM, Red Bull, Milwaukee, Gmundner Keramik, Günther Tore, Quabus, Shoei, Ride 100%, Alpinestars, Kini, IDH

2022: 3rd
2021: 9th
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)

2022: Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (5th), Red Bull Romaniacs (3rd, Bronze class)
2021: Rally Kazakhstan (2nd), Silk Way Rally (1st), Morocco Rally (2nd), Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (1st); FIM World Championship (1st)
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

“It's different when you're coming back from injury”

Don't be fooled by the number 52: Matthias Walkner is one of the top bikers in rally raid, and has finished on the podium in four of the last six editions of the Dakar. In 2018 he became the first Austrian to win the rally in the bikes class, and has come close to repeating that triumph, finishing second in 2019 and third in 2022. The 36-year-old took up motorsport relatively late, switching from skiing to motocross at 14, and won the MX3 world championship title in 2012. Fellow countryman and mentor Heinz Kinigadner encouraged him to try rally raid, and it was love at first sight; Matthias won his first event in Greece, then took a surprise FIM world championship title in 2015 after Marc Coma's mid-season retirement. He lifted the crown again in 2021, posting wins at the Silk Way Rally and Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, but a niggling shoulder injury put paid to his hopes in the first World Rally-Raid Championship in 2022. After a crash in Abu Dhabi, Matthias decided to undergo surgery in the summer, skipping the final two events of the W2RC season in Morocco and Andalusia. That meant he couldn't challenge Sam Sunderland for the overall title, but he's hoping to be back on top form for his ninth Dakar. Following a couple of early abandons -food poisoning in 2015, a broken femur in 2016- Matthias has become one of the most consistent riders in the Dakar field, finishing every year since 2017. He is expecting a different kind of rally in 2023 with the various rule changes in the bikes, but don't be surprised to see him up towards the top of the leaderboard when we get to the business end of this 45th edition.

“I had a super Dakar 2022, and Abu Dhabi was also a really good rally. But I had a crash there and damaged the supraspinatus tendon in my shoulder. It wasn't completely torn, about 30%, so we tried to reinforce the shoulder and hoped it would heal itself. But after Romaniacs in July I saw it wasn't getting better, so I decided to undergo surgery in mid-August. I've been on the bike since late October and I feel pretty good. The arm is super strong but a bit stiff, it needs more stretching, so we'll work on that in the coming weeks. It's definitely a different situation when you're coming back from injury! I've only done two races since the Dakar, Abu Dhabi and Red Bull Romaniacs. It was my first time at Romaniacs, I'd been talking about doing it for years. Sometimes I was a bit on the limit with the rally bike because it was very technical. It felt a bit like rally raid; long days, many kilometres, you also need to navigate well. At Romaniacs I felt super strong on the rally bike, so I'm feeling good, confident. It's not a big deal to have more stages at Dakar 2023. It's just more time to lose or to gain, depending on your position. But with the other new rules and regulations, it's like a completely new race. When you change so many things at the most important race of the year and you don't test it before, it's a big experiment. But maybe I'll be the lucky guy! Maybe we'll find out that it’s a super cool idea. Either way, the Dakar is super fun, out in the open desert. I really love this sport."

Vehicle

RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING

KTM 450 RALLY FACTORY
RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING

  • KTM
  • 450 RALLY FACTORY
  • Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
  • Red Bull KTM Factory Racing
  • -

Ranking 2023

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