As the OiLibya Morocco Rally finishes, so concludes the 2017 programme of racing activities for Monster Energy Honda Team. The season had begun in April with the two Abu Dhabi and Qatar desert races in the Middle East, as part of the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.

It has been an intense year for the Monster Energy Honda Team with five world championship rounds, plus other thrilling rally events and private testing sessions that has taken the squad across four diverse continents, (Asia, North and South America, Europe, Africa) culminating in a silver medal clinched in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship.

The team rounds off the season with a thoroughly positive overall balance sheet that has seen noteworthy performances from riders, bikes and the technical and mechanical teams. Victories in 2017 in the Sonora Rally, the Baja Aragón, the Vegas to Reno, the Desafío Ruta 40 and the Baja Inka 1000, along with the runner-up spots in the Atacama Rally and the Morocco Rally have consolidated Monster Energy Honda Team’s formidable position, leaving the team fully-prepared to tackle forthcoming events.

In the most recent Morocco Rally, the team showed a high level of competitive resolve. The riders once again threw everything at the Honda CRF450 RALLY over the five gruelling stages of the rally. The machine responded perfectly to the challenge without producing the slightest set back in the final event of the world championship calendar, where the race that went down to the wire. The results themselves verify the reliability of the Honda CRF450 RALLY as the team accumulated stage wins, race victories and podium places.

Kevin Benavides, who landed in Morocco lying in fourth place in the world championship table, eventually found himself battling for victory in the overall title, once Portuguese Monster Energy Honda Team companion Paulo Gonçalves had been forced to retire due to injury. The Argentine rider, after keeping options open throughout, ended up taking second place on the final championship leader board after a very intense final stage. Team-mate Ricky Brabec finished in third place on the 2017 OiLibya Morocco Rally final podium as the American rider sealed his first ever world championship stage win.

Paulo Gonçalves was forced to return home to Portugal to have his right hand examined which revealed a small fracture. Two weeks rest should be enough for ‘Speedy’ to get back in the saddle once more. Frenchman Michael Metge had been unable to make the start after a bout of flu left the rider without strength. Metge has since recovered and is back working on physical preparations.
Nevertheless, the racing and training carried out until now is just one aspect of the ‘real pre-season’ for Monster Energy Honda Team. The world championship participation and the other races all form a part of the great build-up to rallying’s greatest challenge and blue riband event: the 2018 Dakar Rally.

Monster Energy Honda Team are now poised for the official team presentation that will line up for the forthcoming Rally Dakar 2018, before all the hardware is loaded up bound for the final destination – South America – in late November.

Videos from the Morocco Rally can be seen here.

Videos can also be seen here from the following events:
Abu Dhabi
Qatar
Baja Aragón
Atacama
Ruta 40

Taichi Honda

Monster Energy Honda Team Rally Large Project Leader

With the Moroccan race in Africa, we have completed our participation in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. Our riders have been preparing the entire season for the Dakar with great success. Likewise, the CRF450 RALLY has demonstrated great reliability and performance, without any mechanical setbacks, and is now ready for the race. With this progression, we can say that we are on the right track to fight for victory in the Dakar Rally and that we will do our utmost to achieve the goal. Our reasoning behind building the team has been simple, compact and flexible and I can confirm that we have managed to put together a highly-prepared team for the Dakar. I hope that all these efforts lead us to the great challenge starting next January. I wish to thank everyone, and especially the Honda fans and our sponsors, for their great support with the team.

Raul Castells

Monster Energy Honda Team Manager

The Morocco Rally has put an end to the Monster Energy Honda Team’s preparations for the 2018 Dakar Rally. It has been a long and intense season, with many satisfactions and some great results. In this final races of the world championship we came close to clinching the world title, something we hadn’t expected before the summer, but thanks to the effort of the riders and the crew had become possible. We have proven that our riders are capable of achieving great results and that the Honda CRF450 RALLY has given very high performances and shown itself to be very reliable - one of the strengths of our team. Now, the Monster Energy Honda Team will go on to prepare the small details ahead of our participation in the 2018 Dakar Rally, which has been the main objective for the team throughout the year. I must thank the whole team for the effort made during this season, all our sponsors: Monster Energy, Motul, Showa, Michelin, Alpinestars, Givi, Termignoni, Acerbis, ARC, Beta, Garmin, DID, GAT, Kenny, K-iron, Kyocera, Lacomed Sports, MoonFactory, Nissei, Noguchi, PIAA, RPM Films, Scout, Shindengen, Supersprox, Twin Air, University of Kent, Vibran and Wings for their big support and we hope to continue thrilling our fans very soon.

2017 Cross-Country Rallies
Post-Race Round FIM-5 , Post-Race 1   Morocco

FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship

Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Constructor Time/Gap
1 Quintanilla Pablo CHI Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna 100
2 Benavides Kevin ARG Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 97
3 Walkner Matthias AUT KTM Factory Racing Team KTM 95
4 Goncalves Paulo POR Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 85
5 Sunderland Sam GBR KTM Factory Racing Team KTM 84
6 Meo Antoine FRA KTM Factory Racing Team KTM 41
7 de Soultrait Xavier FRA Yamaha Motor Europe Yamaha 33
8 Renet Pierre-Alexandre FRA Husqvarna Factory Rally Team Husqvarna 31
9 Brabec Ricky USA Monster Energy Honda Team Honda 31
10 Van Beveren Adrien FRA Yamaha Motor Europe Yamaha 29

Monster Energy Honda Team - Morocco Rally 2017 HD

Monster Energy Honda Team - Morocco Rally 2017 HD

Location Information

Now recognized as the final season’s key/most important trial of the FIM’s World Championship and last rally of the FIA World Cup the OiLibya Rally of Morocco is THE event not to miss for all the competitors and enthusiasts of rally-raid. Whether they are great champions or amateurs, each participant… read more.

Winner 2017 Matthias Walkner (KTM)
Winnner 2016 Toby Price (KTM)
Winner 2015 Sam Sunderland (KTM)
Winner 2014 Marc Coma (KTM)
Winner 2013 Paulo Gonçalves (Honda)
Winner 2012 Cyril Despres (KTM)

Zagora, Sus-Masa-Draa, Marruecos - View in Google Maps