Official Honda HRC 2022 Off-Road Rally Team Announcement
Press release | December 13, 2021
The official Honda HRC off-road rally team was unveiled on December 10.
The following is a press release from Honda HRCâ¦
Photos courtesy of Rally Zone / HRC
The Monster Energy Honda team is ready to take on the new challenges ahead, the most difficult of which will be the Dakar Rally 2022.
The current Dakar Rally Championship winning team was present for the official Honda HRC teams presentation gala for the new 2022 season. The revamped Monster Energy Honda team will aim to replicate last season’s victory in the toughest race in the world, the Dakar rally.
The strong five-season partnership between Honda and Monster Energy has seen the team not only achieve great success, but also become the most admired team in the off-road rally bivouac.
Indeed, if there is anything more difficult than conquering such a powerful goal, it is to repeat it. And after last year’s Dakar, it became very clear that Monster Energy Honda Team is determined to take the triumph as many times as possible. It is precisely for this reason that the team will field a mix of young people and experience, forming a formidable team with great chances of reaching their goal.
In the Dakar 2021, Monster Energy Honda Team proved to be a tough team, not only winning stages and leading much of the race, but also having several drivers vying for the top spot. In addition, the Honda CRF450 Rally motorcycle made it easy, consistently proving its power and reliability and helping the team’s four riders stay among the top. It will be a difficult act to follow, but the quartet is up to the enormous challenge.
Ricky Brabec (photo above), American, champion in 2020 and runner-up in 2021, will adorn plate # 2 of his Honda CRF450 Rally. With four stage wins last year, growing stronger throughout the campaign and in the final scrum for the overall victoryâ¦ who could ask for more?
JosÃ© Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Cornejo (pictured above), the 27-year-old Chilean promise will return to Saudi Arabia in hopes of improving last year’s bittersweet edition, though no one can take him away his stage victory or the fact that he led the race for three full days.
Joan Barreda (photo above) is currently the active rider with the most stage wins in the motorcycle category. The # 88 never say die needs a little introduction. But who would dare to exclude Bang Bang from the list of contenders for the final victory?
Pablo Quintanilla (pictured above) is the latest addition to the Monster Energy Honda team! Welcome aboard! The pilot has already been on the Dakar final podium on no less than two occasions and also holds two world championship titles. The team’s latest signing will be more visible than ever this year.
The 2022 Dakar Rally will start on January 1 in Ha’il, Saudi Arabia, and, after 12 stages and a day of rest, will end in Jeddah on January 14. The Dakar 2022 will also be the first round of the new Cross-Country. World Rally Championship.
Ruben Faria | General manager:
There are less than twenty-five days until the start of the Dakar Rally and the Monster Energy Honda team is almost ready to take on the biggest challenge of the year. Bikes, equipment and vehicles are already on their way to Jeddah. The riders Ricky Brabec, JosÃ© Ignacio Cornejo, Joan Barreda and team newcomer Pablo Quintanilla are well prepared for the Dakar, as evidenced by our last race of the year, which ended with a great triumph for Quintanilla .
In 2020 and 2021 the Monster Energy Honda team won the race and in the last edition we had an excellent result with two motorcycles in the first two places of the final podium. This year 2022, we take on the role of the favorites, the team to beat, and that’s why we have to be really well prepared for the race and try for the treble. The Dakar is a very tough, very complicated race, where details are very important and winning the Dakar is not just 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 bikeâ¦ And we’ll 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 success factors for the whole team.
The Dakar 2022 will be hard and difficult, with more sand and dunes than in previous editions, with a few loop stages, demanding more of the riders. We will have to be consistent and focused in the race to try to get the best result for the team.
Ricky Brabec # 2: 2021 has been a lot of practice so far. Unfortunately, we are still in the Covid crisis, so not a lot of shopping is going on. I don’t mind training any more than it does running. It’s always good to run and stay competitive, but doing a lot of training is also good. I can train very close to home so it makes it super easy and super beneficial to train for Dakar 2022.
We were very close to securing another victory in 2021. Unfortunately, two major setbacks haunted us the whole rally. Like we said, we know how to train and know exactly where to start, just learning from 2019 to 2020 to 2021. This year, heading into 2022, we know where to start training and we know how to train ourselves. gradually. Can’t wait to see how this has helped us. Obviously, the main goal is the Dakar for any Honda rider. We have four very good, strong and confident riders. Unfortunately I want to win, but so do the other three. If a Honda wins, or two, or three, or if only one makes the podium, it’s a team effort and a team victory. So overall, that’s our main objective, to win the Dakar again.
Pablo Quintanilla # 7: I feel really happy and excited to be part of the team. For me, it’s an honor to be part of the team that already won the Dakar in the last edition. For me, this is something that I have been looking for all these years. The atmosphere in the team is really nice. The relationship between the pilots, the mechanics and all the people who work here is really nice. It’s an honor to be part of the team.
I think all the drivers want to win the Dakar. We come every year with the ambition to win the race. For me, it’s a special feeling. I have already finished second and third in the race. Of course I want to win. But the important thing is to improve my skills and my pace so that I have the chance to win. For me, it’s important to have a great team behind you. Some things you can prepare yourself before the race, but the other thing is you have the right team, with the right people and the right bike to make it happen. I want to win. I will prepare for victory. I will do my best as always. I will give myself 100% every day and every step of the way. I hope and wish this dream will come true.
JosÃ© Ignacio Cornejo # 11: The real pressure was when I was a privateer. I had to try to make it a professional. I didn’t have the resources. I have fun. I am living the dream. Professional race for HRC. Fight to win the Dakar Rally – the most important rally in the world. I just don’t feel the pressure.
The Atacama was really good training for what was to come. Good conditions and good routes. I had a lot of fun. The pandemic? We thought we would have more races but some of them were canceled or postponed so it’s still not a normal year. It was better than last year. I was able to do normal tests and training and a few races with the team. Last year, we just did one before the Dakar. It was definitely better than last year.
Joan Barreda # 88: I have tried to do a good job throughout the season. We started the year with the Andalusia Rally and we did a good job. We were also running near my home in Baja, Spain. It was a great rally and I showed good speed. It was good training to do all this work.
This year, we have worked a lot, especially on the second week of the Dakar. It’s a long race – different from other rallies. I think we are working well. We try to be in good physical and mental condition. We try to take care of all the little details. With it all together, with a really good bike and a great team, we’re sure we can do a good job.