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Japanese motorcycle manufacturer Honda has revealed its team for the 2022 edition of the Dakar Rally. Monster Energy Honda will be aiming for a third consecutive win at the Dakar this year and the factory race team has unveiled a four rider team for the gruelling rally.
The four member team from Monster Energy Honda includes 2020 Dakar Rally winner Ricky Brabec (and runner up in 2021) who will ride the No. 2 bike. Alongside Brabec will be José Ignacio 'Nacho' Cornejo who won a stage last year and led the rally for three whole days before a bad crash forced him to retire. Cornejo will ride the No. 11 bike.
Riding the number 88 motorcycle will be Joan Barreda, the man with the most stage wins for a current rider in Dakar who as ever will be a contender for the top spot this year. Riding the number 7 bike will be the newest addition to the team, is Pablo Quintanilla. The Chilean rider finished as the runner up in Dakar 2020 and in third place at the 2016 edition of the Rally.
Speaking about his team's preparation, Ruben Faria, General Manager Monster Energy Honda Team said, "There are less than twenty-five days until the Dakar Rally gets underway and the Monster Energy Honda Team is almost ready to tackle the year's greatest challenge. The bikes, equipment and vehicles are already en route to Jeddah. The riders Ricky Brabec, José Ignacio Cornejo, Joan Barreda and the team's newcomer Pablo Quintanilla are well-prepared for the Dakar, as witnessed in our final race of the year, which concluded with a grand triumph for Quintanilla. In 2020 and 2021 the Monster Energy Honda Team won the race and, in the most recent edition, we achieved a great result with two bikes in the top two positions on the final podium. This year, 2022, we take the role of favourites, the team to beat, and that's why we have to be really well-prepared for the race and go for the hat-trick. The Dakar is a very tough, very complicated race, where details are very important and winning the Dakar is not merely a matter of luck: you have to be really good over twelve days of racing. You have to be focused as a rider, as a team, with a good bike... And we are going to do our best to win. The bike is exceptional and we have worked hard on durability and performance. The team is pretty much the same as last year, with a great atmosphere, which is one of the main factors for the success of the whole team. The Dakar 2022 will be tough and difficult, with more sand and dunes than in previous editions, with some looping stages, making more demands on the riders. We will have to be consistent and focused in the race trying to get the best result for the team."
All four riders of the Monster Energy Honda Team will be riding the CRF450 Rally motorcycle. The bike is powered by a 449.4cc liquid-cooled, DOHC, single-cylinder engine that Honda claims produces over 45kW (60.3bhp). The bike features an aluminium twin-tube chassis with a carbon fibre subframe. The Honda CRF450 Rally sports a Showa suspension setup with an inverted fork with 310mm travel up front and a mono shock with 305mm travel at the rear. The rally bike sports disc brakes at both ends.
The Dakar Rally was first started in 1978 as the Paris Dakar Rally. It originally ran from Paris, France to Dakar, Senegal. The Rally was shifted in 2009 to South America due to security concerns before finally moving to its current location of Saudi Arabia in 2020. In 2022, the Dakar Rally will be held as the opening round of the inaugural FIM World Rally-Raid Championship.
Honda is a six-time winner of the Dakar Rally. Honda won the Dakar rally in its original guise in 1986, 87, 88 and 89 with its riders astride the NXR750. The company withdrew from the event in 1990 and then returned in 2013 with the CRF450 Rally. With the CRF450 Rally, Honda has won both editions of the Dakar Rally held in Saudi Arabia till date - 2020 & 2021 and is looking to continue its dominance in the 2022 edition of the famous race.
Thoughts On Honda's Team For Dakar 2022
Monster Energy Honda Team return to Dakar this year as favourites and its four rider lineup is one of the most formidable to hit the dunes in the iconic rally. Honda has a good chance to complete a three-peat though only time will tell who emerges victorious when the dunes finally allow a winner out on the 14th of January.