Manuel Lucchese had hoped to make his return to the Dakar Rally on a bike in 2024, but injuries he sustained in early April have forced him to set that aside.
“Surgeries are something you never get used to but having the right people around you really helps in these difficult moments,” wrote Lucchese. “My recovery will be very long meaning I won’t be able to race the next Dakar nor any other races until 2024. A summer of physiotherapy is in front of me to start walking again!”
Lucchese raced at Dakar on a bike four times in the 2010s starting in 2012. Mainly riding as a Malle Moto competitor, which entails racing without any assistance from crews, he finished forty-ninth overall in 2016 while his last start in 2017 saw a fifty-first overall and third in Malle Moto.
From 2018 onwards, he began focusing on being a co-driver in SSVs alongside Ahmed Alkuwari, whom he befriended after they collaborated on building rally raid bikes. After injuries and COVID-19 delayed the effort multiple times, the duo finally got to compete at Dakar together in 2023. Racing a Yamaha for X-raid Team in T3, they placed seventeenth in class with a best stage finish of seventh in the final leg.
He won the 2012 FIM Bajas World Cup for over 450cc bikes while also placing runner-up in his class in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. Two years later, the Italian claimed the domestic Bajas title. From 2021 through 2023, he was the team manager for Yamaha’s Ténéré World Raid Team.