Five riders will line up on the new factory Honda CRF450 RALLY; Joan Barreda (Spain, 31), Paulo Goncalves (Portugal, 35), Helder Rodrigues (Portugal, 35), Jeremias Israel (Chile, 33), and Laia Sanz (Spain, 28).
From Honda’s press release
This new Team HRC 2015 Dakar Rally Team will set off for the Rally OiLibya du Maroc, on October 3rd in Erfoud (Morocco) in order to prepare for the world’s most difficult and challenging off-road event: the Dakar Rally which begins on 4th January 2015 in Buenos Aires (Argentina). The two week long 9,000 kilometres Dakar crosses Argentina, Bolivia and Chilean territories, and takes in all kinds of terrain, concluding on the 17th January in the Argentinian capital.
Joan Barreda, Paulo Goncalves and Helder Rodrigues have participated in several rounds of the 2014 FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. This season, Paulo Goncalves, current World Champion, has won the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, the first round of the Championship, and Joan Barreda has won the Sealine Qatar Rally. Goncalves is currently in second place, and will be in the running for the title in Morocco. New additions to the team are Chilean Jeremias Israel and Dakar’s female-class winner Laia Sanz.
Team HRC’s aim is to win the Dakar; the most prestigious and gruelling off road motorcycle race in the world. An exceptional work bench for the bike, which subsequently will become tomorrow’s mass-production model.
The staff members are led by Large Project Leader Katsumi Yamazaki, General Manager Martino Bianchi, and Team Manager Wolfgang Fischer.
Team HRC 2015 Dakar Rally Team welcomes KH-7 as the new partner of the Team in the Dakar Rally Project.
Martino Bianchi – Team HRC General Manager
This new Team HRC has enormous potential. It combines the best virtues of different drivers for a winning team. We’ve shown that we are a winning team, and so we can only win “The Rally”. The Dakar rally it’s more than a race: it’s the mother of all rally-raids. It’s an adventure, and it’s a great challenge. The race 9,000 km and is full of traps, but the prestige for the winner is enormous. And that will be our main goal. We’ll start 2015 with the intention to win the Dakar, with our talented team with so many assets, and with a great bike.
We will fight for the victory in the Dakar, is our target! The last Dakar was very intense, very hard, difficult day after day, but we were always ahead and never give up despite accidents or set-backs. We showed that we have a bike capable of winning and a team that works for it. Honda wants to win and hopefully this year we can make it in first. We have all worked hard to achieve this main objective.
Since we started the project at the end of 2012, we have been constantly improving. The CRF450 RALLY is a really marvelous/excellent bike. HRC has done an extraordinary job on this bike. Recently, we have performed some tests, and it has been much more competitive and reliable. It is lighter and more powerful. We have the best weapon to fight for the win, I’m certain.
As you said, there are a lot of different kinds of terrain and it’s incredible how you are always in control of the Honda CRF450 RALLY. It’s very small, powerful and easy to ride. It’s the best bike I’ve ever had and I’m sure it was an important element in becoming world champion. It’s a fantastic bike and if I could, I’ll marry her!
What I can say? I’m very happy and proud to form part of an organization like Team HRC. I would never have dreamt of being here. These riders are the best in the rally-raid world and the bike is marvelous. It’s like a real Moto GP bike created for the desert.
Last year I rode the best bike that I have ever ridden, and I was able to get some good results. This year, the bike is better and there will be more pressure, but I will continue to do my best on the tracks and try to help the Team HRC to reach the goal for this race. I will join the Team in Morocco for my first world round race and I hope everything goes well.