Paulo Goncalves and Joan Barreda will spearhead Team HRC’s 2016 Dakar Rally campaign. Unveiling the five-strong team for the 38th edition of the race at the EICMA motorcycle show in Milan, Gonclaves and Barreda will be joined by Michael Metge, Paolo Ceci and Ricky Brabec.
Paulo Goncalves (Portugal, 36), had a great end to last year’s edition, finishing runner-up after having been in the fray for the overall top spot. The Honda rider is determined to go one step better in 2016.
Joan Barreda (Spain, 32) led the race in 2014 until the now infamous Uyuni Salt Flats stage. This year the Spaniard will put his leadership qualities, pace and navigational dexterity on display once more in a bid to be top of the leaderboard when the rally winds up in Rosario.
The remaining Team HRC riders are all making their maiden Dakar outings. Michael Metge (France, 36) is an all-round rider, skilled mechanic and a fine navigator. Paolo Ceci (Italy, 40) also knows the bike well. The veteran’s contribution could be a key component for the team to achieve their goal this time around.
Last but by no means least, a mention should go to Ricky Brabec (United States, 24), making his Dakar debut. Ricky dominated the entire desert season in 2014 and represented Team HRC earlier this year in Abu Dhabi, finishing fifth overall.
Team HRC and Honda South America have worked very closely since the former returned to the Dakar, and this year the Honda South America Rally Team has four factory bikes for the best South American riders.
For the Dakar Rally 2016, these will be Javier Pizzolito and Kevin Benavides, representing Argentina, and Jean Azevedo and Adrien Metge from Honda Brazil.
The 2016 Dakar Rally starts and finishes in Argentina, although the warmth and colour of Bolivia and its people will once again host part of the 8,500 kilometre long race. Buenos Aires, the Argentinean capital, hosts the race start on the January 3rd 2016.
The 2016 Dakar Rally will mark Honda’s fourth consecutive year of participation since the since the team officially re-entered the competition after a 23-year absence.