The Official Honda HRC Cross-Country Rally Team was unveiled today. Monster Energy Honda Team is all set to face the new challenges ahead, the toughest of which will be the 2022 Dakar Rally.

The current Dakar Rally championship-winning team were in attendance for the gala presentation of the official Honda HRC teams for the new 2022 season. The revamped Monster Energy Honda Team will be aiming to replicate last season’s win in the world’s toughest race, the Dakar Rally.

The five-season strong partnership between Honda and Monster Energy has resulted in the team not only achieving great successes but also becoming the most admired squad in the Cross-Country Rally bivouac.

Indeed, if anything is tougher than conquering such a mighty goal, it is repeating it. And after last year’s Dakar, it has become abundantly clear that Monster Energy Honda Team are determined to pull off the triumph as many times as they possibly can. For this very reason the team will line up a mix of both youth and experience, making a formidable squad with a high chance of achieving their aim.

In the 2021 Dakar, Monster Energy Honda Team proved themselves to be a resilient outfit, not only winning stages and leading much of the race, but having several riders constantly vying for the top spot. Moreover, the Honda CRF450 RALLY bike facilitated the task, consistently proving its power and reliability and helping the team’s four riders to stay amongst the frontrunners. It will be a hard act to follow, but the foursome are up to the enormous challenge.

Ricky Brabec, American, champion in 2020 and runner-up in 2021, will adorn the #2 plate on his Honda CRF450 RALLY. With four stage wins last year, going from strength to strength throughout the campaign and in the final fray for the overall victory… who could ask for anything more?

José Ignacio ‘Nacho’ Cornejo, the young 27-year-old Chilean promise will return to Saudi Arabia hoping to improve on last year’s bittersweet edition, although nobody will be able to take away his stage win or the fact that he led the race for three whole days.

Joan Barreda is currently the active rider with the highest number of stage wins in the motorcycle category. The #88 never-say-die needs little introduction. But who would dare to rule out Bang Bang from the list of contenders for the overall victory?

Pablo Quintanilla is the latest addition to the Monster Energy Honda Team! Welcome aboard! The rider has already been on the final Dakar podium on no less than two occasions and also holds two world championship titles. The latest signing to the squad 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 rest day, will end in Jeddah on January 14. The Dakar 2022 will also be the first round of the new Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.

Ruben Faria

General Manager

There are less than twenty-five days until the Dakar Rally gets underway and the Monster Energy Honda Team is almost ready to tackle the year’s greatest challenge. The bikes, equipment and vehicles are already en route to Jeddah. The riders Ricky Brabec, José Ignacio Cornejo, Joan Barreda and the team's newcomer Pablo Quintanilla are well-prepared for the Dakar, as witnessed in our final race of the year, which concluded with a grand triumph for Quintanilla.
In 2020 and 2021 the Monster Energy Honda Team won the race and, in the most recent edition, we achieved a great result with two bikes in the top two positions on the final podium. This year, 2022, we take the role of favourites, the team to beat, and that's why we have to be really well-prepared for the race and go for the hat-trick. The Dakar is a very tough, very complicated race, where details are very important and winning the Dakar is not merely 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 bike... And we are going to 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 factors for the success of the whole team.
The Dakar 2022 will be tough and difficult, with more sand and dunes than in previous editions, with some looping stages, making more demands on the riders. We will have to be consistent and focused in the race trying to get the best result for the team.

Ricky Brabec 2

#2

2021 has been a lot of training so far. Unfortunately we are still in the Covid crisis, so not much racing going on. I don’t mind training more than racing. It’s always good to race and stay competitive, but also doing a lot of training is also good. I can train really close to my house so it makes it super easy and super beneficial to train for Dakar 2022.
We were very close to achieving another win in 2021. Unfortunately two major setbacks haunted us the whole rally in doing so. Like we said - we know how to train and know exactly where to start off, just learning from 2019 to 2020 to 2021. This year, in preparation for 2022, we know where to start training and we know how to progressively train. I’m looking forward to seeing how it has helped us. Obviously, the main goal is the Dakar for any Honda rider. We have four really good, strong, confident riders. Unfortunately I want to win, but so do the other three. If one Honda wins, or two, or three, or, just one gets on the podium -it’s a team effort and a team win. So as a whole, that’s our main goal, to win the Dakar again.

Pablo Quintanilla 7

#7

I feel really happy and excited to be part of the team. For me it is an honor to be part of the team that already won the Dakar in the last edition. For me it’s something that I have been searching for all these years. The atmosphere in the team is really nice. The relationship between the riders, the mechanics and all the people who work here is really nice. It is an honor to be part of the team.
I think that all the riders want to win the Dakar. We come every year with the ambition to win the race. For me it’s a special feeling. I’ve already finished second and third in the race. For sure I want to win. But the important thing is to improve my skills and pace to have the chance to be able to win. For me it is important to have a big team behind you. Some things you can prepare for yourself before the race, but the other thing is that you have the correct team, with the correct people and the right bike to make it happen. I want to win. I will prepare for the victory. I will do my best as always. I will give it 100% every day and every stage. I hope and I wish this dream comes true.

José Ignacio Cornejo 11

#11

The real pressure was when I was a privateer. I had to try to make it to be a professional. I didn’t have the resources. I’m having fun. I’m living the dream. Racing professionally for HRC. Fighting 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 coming. Good conditions and good routes. I had a lot of fun. The pandemic? We thought that we would have more races, but some of them were cancelled or postponed, so it’s still not a normal year. It was better than last year. I’ve been able to do some testing and some normal training and some races with the team. Last year we just did one before the Dakar. It was better than last year for sure.

Location Information

Dakar in Saudi From 2020

Records

Dakar 2020 winner Ricky Brabec (Honda)
Dakar 2021 winner Kevin Benavides (Honda)