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Honda after first-time Dakar win

2012-07-04 08:24

Honda WILL enter a works motorcycle team in the 2013 Dakar Rally in South America, travelling north to south through Peru, Chile and Argentina.

Honda competed nine times in the motorcycle class in the forerunner of the present Dakar Rally, the Paris-Dakar, from 1981 to 1989 and won five times. It's been 23 years since its most recent official Dakar entry.

PROTOTYPE BUILD

The Honda team, to be called Team HRC, will include Portuguese rider Helder Rodrigues who was third in the 2012 Dakar Rally, Brazilian Felipe Zanol, who brings a wealth of experience in motocross and enduro race events, the UK's Sam Sunderland and Javier Pizzolito of Argentina.

They will ride a prototype machine being developed and produced by the Motorcycle R&D Centre at Honda R&D.

The prototype machine is based on the CRF450X, the popular worldwide enduro racing model that combines ease of handling with superior competitive strength. Kit parts designed for use on the standard CRF450X have also been developed and will be supplied to a limited number of teams.

TOTALLY DIFFERENT

Tetsuo Suzuki, boss of Honda's Motorcycle R&D Centre, said: “The Dakar requires competitors to cover several hundred kilometres a day for more than two weeks. It needs a totally different type of vehicle from events such as motocross, trials and road races.

"Honda has put a great deal of effort into designing and building a powerful and winning machine. We are aiming for the championship from this first year.”