honda dakar rally 2018 dakar day joan barreda 6822 1 1200

Photo Credit: Honda Pro Racing

With Dakar Rally just around the corner, stronger and better prepared is how Joan Barreda feels the Monster Energy Honda Team are.

Having come repeatedly close to knocking KTM off the top step of the podium in the Dakar Rally, many are asking will 2018 be a victorious one for Honda.

An event they base their year around, the team spend 11 months getting ready for January.

In 2017’s race they appeared to have KTM on the ropes, only to fall short in the final week. 

It’s a detail not forgotten by Barreda as he helped launch this year’s Honda HRC effort at their Dakar Day in Barcelona, Spain.

 

honda dakar rally 2018 dakar day joan barreda 6822 mn

Photo Credit: Honda Pro Racing
 

“Last year we were very close to winning the Dakar, we did a great job and the victory only escaped us due to a minor detail,” told Barreda. 

“Now, after a season where we have worked in every direction, we feel much stronger, not only concerning riding and navigation, but likewise for teamwork.

“The prize that we have been chasing has to come eventually.”

A stalwart of the team and one of the most experienced guys in rally, Paulo Goncalves mirrors Barreda’s confidence.

 

honda dakar rally 2018 dakar day paulo gonclaves 6822 mn

Photo Credit: Honda Pro Racing
 

“We have worked well all year, winning races in the World Championship and came close to winning it,” said Goncalves. 

“We have improved the reliability of the Honda CRF450 Rally to have the best competitive spirit and we’ve always been on the podium with it. 

“This gives us confidence in the team to be able to fight for the Dakar. This really could be our moment.”

Fielding a five-man team of Barreda, Goncalves, Ricky Brabec, Michael Metge and Kevin Benavides, Honda clearly mean business about finally knocking KTM off the top step of the podium in the biggest race in rally.

 

 

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Robert Lynn
Enduro21 Editor
robert@future7media.com