The members of the Monster Energy Honda Team due to participate in the 41st edition of the Dakar Rally were officially revealed in Milan, Italy at the prestigious EICMA motorcycle show.
This is a press release from Honda…
The full range of HRC 2019 teams who will compete in the various specialties, MotoGP, Trial, Motocross and Rally, got their official presentation this afternoon as the EICMA International Motor Show opened today in Milan. The event drew the attention of professionals from throughout the world of motorbikes.
Kevin Benavides, Paulo Gonçalves, Joan Barreda, Ricky Brabec and José Ignacio Cornejo, the five riders who line up for the HRC Rally team, Monster Energy Honda Team, all took the stage before they go on to defend the colors of Honda in the forthcoming edition of the Rally Dakar.
Superbike World Champion James Toseland and journalist Suzy Perry, working as presenters for the HRC teams, posed different questions to the riders, who expressed their desire to get the world’s toughest competition, the Dakar Rally, underway after a lengthy season of preparations.
The event was also attended and supported by Yoshishige Nomura, HRC President, and Noriaki Abe, Chief Officer of Honda Motors.
At EICMA, Honda will have the team’s competition bike for the next Dakar Rally – the CRF450 RALLY – on display at the show. It can be found at the Honda stand located in Hall 22 stand O 48.
The 2019 Dakar will be a whole new race and you have to start with an open mind. It has been a good year for me, with some ups and downs, but I am sure that I will be very strong. I like Peru, it’s a sandy areas so there’s going to be ten stages full of sand. The race strategy will be different, but I will try to keep a good pace, do a good job with the navigation and try to be consistent over each stage to get the best possible times.
We have worked hard during the year to increase one of the important aspects for the Dakar, which is durability, and we are very satisfied with the result. Our rally bike has also received an upgrade of the suspensions and the engine, which greatly improves the performance. There have been small improvements to different points that allow us to be more comfortable, go faster on the track and also be safer. HRC has worked hard throughout the year to deliver a bike capable of fighting for victory at each stage.
Stage victories are important but, above all, the final victory in the rally is the most important thing, which is what we have been going after in recent years. The team has worked hard and has been preparing to accomplish this mission and I believe that the 2019 Dakar Rally will be a positive year for Monster Energy Honda Team.
I explain to my friends that the adventure of the Dakar Rally would be like racing the Baja 500 for 14 days in a row. No other race is physically and mentally demanding as the Dakar Rally, it’s truly a life changing experience as we come home from the Dakar and take a break we look back and reflect on the rally as that life is much more difficult to us then people even imagine. The amount of stress, scares, and how much energy we use and put through our body is something you can’t describe to most.
José Ignacio Cornejo
I am very happy to be part of the Monster Energy Honda Team, one of the most important teams in the world of rally racing. In recent years they have been the ones who have incorporated the most technology into the bikes and this is really important. We have an incredible bike. The team is very professional and cares a lot about all the small details which means we can get better results.