N°52 Bike RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING
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, Gmundner Keramik, TechnoGym, Günther Tore, Spiluttini, Quabus, Shoei, Ride 100%, Alpinestars, Kini, IDH

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)

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

A “last dance” for Walkner?

You only need a brief glance at Matthias Walkner's CV to realise he is one of the top bikers in the world. Winner of the Dakar in 2018, the Austrian has just secured his second title in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, having posted superb results throughout the season. Second in Kazakhstan and Morocco, first at the Silk Way Rally and the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the 35-year-old has been on dominant form and will definitely be one of the main contenders. Once again, he will be sporting his favourite number 52, a throwback to his motocross days. The Austrian manufacturers boast a formidable line-up in 2022 -Walkner, Benavides, Toby Price and Sam Sunderland are all former Dakar champions- and they will be determined to recover the title from Honda, who put an end to KTM's 18-year winning streak with victories in 2020. Walkner took up riding fairly late, switching from skiing to motocross when his father bought him a bike at the age of 14. After coming second in his very first race in Fresach, he never looked back, going on to win the MX3 World Championship title in 2012. On the advice of fellow countryman and mentor Heinz Kinigadner, Matthias took up rally raid, and quickly realised he had found his true calling. He won his first event in Greece in 2014, and then the world title as a relative newcomer in 2015, making the most of Marc Coma's mid-season retirement to beat Sunderland to the crown. Things didn't go so well in his early Dakar participations; after retiring from the 2015 edition with food poisoning, he suffered a broken femur at Dakar 2016, the result of a serious crash on the seventh stage. The story of his subsequent rehabilitation and recovery is recounted in the Red Bull TV documentary 'One Track Back', culminating in Matthias becoming the first Austrian to triumph in the bikes class at Dakar 2018. The day after his overall victory at the 2021 season finale in Abu Dhabi, he might have been forgiven for enjoying a lazy day by the pool; instead he was back on the bike testing for Dakar. That determination and professionalism -not to mention his sparkling form- make Walkner one of the big favourites in Saudi Arabia.

The “dream team” decked out in Red Bull colours is made up of three former Dakar winners. Kevin Benavides, the year’s most spectacular transfer, and his race plate number 1 are attracting most of the attention. Toby Price (the winner in 2016 and 2019) has also signed a new two-year contract. Both of them returned to competition last October for the Rallye du Maroc. On completion of this race, Matthias Walkner grabbed the title of world champion, even before the finale. “Hiasi” enjoys the status of life-long national hero in Austria since his triumph in 2018 but is coming to the end of his contract. Could this be a psychological advantage or disadvantage? “I think I don’t have so much pressure because I’ve had a really good season and I have the world championship title in my pocket, but of course our main goal is again to stay on the top in the Dakar. If I can continue again in a top three position it would be amazing. Right now, I feel super, super excited and motivated, I think more than ever, because it may be my last Dakar because my contract after this Dakar is finished”. Danilo Petrucci, recently retired from race circuits and a surprise guest who will enjoy the much sought-after status of official rider, is ready to seize the unique opportunity of a radical change in style, after the Italian’s 169 starts in the MotoGP discipline! However, this reconversion started in in an extraordinary manner, with a broken wrist on 8th December during training followed by an initial positive COVID test result on Saudi soil that was soon revealed to be a false positive after a blood test! The Italian has already started to feel the heat even before the desert, which he will discover in the coming days. Nevertheless, at the age of 31 years, the track biker can point to genuine off-road experience which perhaps may allow him to become the best rookie in 2022… “I started competing in motocross at the age of 8 years. When I was sixteen, I stopped and switched to speed circuit racing until last month. I’ve always done motocross and enduro in training, especially in the last two years. However, I’ll have to take it easy to begin with, because of my recent injury”.

Matthias Walkner - Scrutineerings - ENG
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Walkner Matthias (aut), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, KTM 450 Rally Factory Replica, Moto, W2RC, portrait during a photoshooting of the Dakar 2022 in Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia on December 29, 2021.
Walkner Matthias (aut), Red Bull KTM Factory Racing, KTM 450 Rally Factory Replica, Moto, W2RC, portrait during a photoshooting of the Dakar 2022 in Jeddah, in Saudi Arabia on December 29, 2021. © A.S.O./Charly Lopez

Vehicle

RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING

KTM 450 RALLY FACTORY REPLICA
RED BULL KTM FACTORY RACING

  • KTM
  • 450 RALLY FACTORY REPLICA
  • Red Bull KTM Factory Team
  • Red Bull KTM Factory Team
  • M_GP_NO

Ranking 2022

All news of M. Walkner

Reactions - 14/01 10:41 [GMT +3] - Bike

Matthias Walkner: "This podium spot feels almost like a victory"

The Austrian winner of the 2018 edition finished on the podium of the Dakar for the fourth time in his career, this time in third place.

 

 "If you'd said to me before the rally I could finish in the top 3, I would have said, 'where do I have to sign?'. So many things can happen on the road. We spend so many hours on our bikes....

Newsflashes - 14/01 09:03 [GMT +3] - Bike

State of affairs at the halfway point

81 km into the special, roughly halfway through the 164 km timed section, Sam Sunderland (GasGas) is sitting in fourth place, 2'16" behind his closest rival in the general standings, Pablo Quintanilla. The Honda rider is leading the special, but the Englishman still has 4'36" to spare in the virtual standings. Matthias Walkner (KTM), fifth at 3 minutes down on Quintanilla, was...

Newsflashes - 13/01 12:23 [GMT +3] - Bike

Sunderland regains the lead of the Dakar

At the finishing line on special number 11, Kevin Benavides has achieved the best time, 4'' ahead of Sam Sunderland, 2'26'' in front of Hero’s Joaquim Rodrigues and 4'54'' ahead of Matthias Walkner. Pablo Quintanilla has finished in 6th place, 7'40'' behind the winner, Adrien Van Beveren in 12th place, 21'33'' behind and Joan Barreda in 16th place 25'10'' behind. Toby Price,...

Newsflashes - 13/01 09:41 [GMT +3] - Bike

Quintanilla, Walkner and Sunderland hold steady after 127 km

After 127 km, Sunderland has achieved the best time, 8’’ ahead of Kevin Benavides', 1’15’’ in front of Matthias Walkner', 2’09’’ ahead of Joaquim Rodrigues and 2’48’’ in front of Pablo Quintanilla. Joan Barreda is in 15th position, 9’01’’ behind the leader, whilst Adrien Van Beveren is in 29th...

Newsflashes - 13/01 08:48 [GMT +3] - Bike

Quintanilla is in the virtual overall lead

Matthias Walkner has completed 43 km and is 24’’ behind Sunderland and 47'' behind Quintanilla. In the virtual general rankings, Pablo Quintanilla currently leads Sunderland by 21'', Walkner by 2'22'', Barreda by 4'49'' and Van Beveren by 7'07'' sur Van Beveren. The penultimate special of the 44th edition of the Dakar is delivering on all the action it promised!

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Newsflashes - 13/01 07:58 [GMT +3] - Bike

A day for strategists?

You may have noticed yesterday when following the Live tracking that Matthias Walkner, who was opening the special, was caught two thirds along the route before falling in behind his pursuers. Yesterday evening, Joan Barreda claimed to have seen riders deliberately cede the initiative in order to obtain a more favourable starting position today. This will be the case for Walkner...

Reactions - 12/01 13:10 [GMT +3] - Bike

Matthias Walkner: "I made a navigation error"

27th on the day, almost 16 minutes of the pace, Walkner now stands fifth overall at 8′24″.

"The guys in front lost their bearings this morning and I was able to put some time into them, but near the end, the sun was so high and the contrasts were so faint that it was hard to see the tracks, so I made a navigation error that cost me...

Newsflashes - 12/01 11:38 [GMT +3] - Bike

It never rains but it pours for KTM

After Kevin Benavides was forced to withdraw from the really due to a mechanical at km 134, Matthias Walkner went through the last time check with a deficit of 7′24″ to stage leader Quintanilla. Walkner is not only surrendering the overall lead, but even falling from the virtual podium, now with Sunderland, Quintanilla and Van Beveren.

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