Rallye

Monster Energy Honda Team all set for the 2020 Dakar

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With the shakedown completed and the administrative and technical verification processes carried out, Monster Energy Honda Team is now 100% set to get the 2020 Dakar Rally underway.

The five factory riders, along with the entire team supporting them, are poised to tackle the world‰Ûªs toughest rally on January 5.

Jeddah, Saudi Arabia‰Ûªs second city, will host the build-up to the start of the Dakar Rally 2020. After the recent arrival in the most extensive country in the Middle Eastern region, Monster Energy Honda Team, with their five official riders, have made it through a positive ‰Û÷shakedown‰Ûª with everything deemed to be in order. Today, Friday, saw all team members pass through, first, the administrative verifications and, subsequently, the technical ones, with the entire entourage of vehicles and personnel given the all-clear to race.
Kevin Benavides. Photo: RallyZone
Argentine rider Kevin Benavides, runner-up in 2018 and fifth in the most recent edition, will face his fourth Dakar, aiming at improving on previous results while reasserting himself as a candidate for the overall victory. The number seven will adorn the bike‰Ûªs fairings for the rider from Salta.

"We have arrived in Arabia; we have carried out the shakedown and have passed the checks for this 2020 Dakar. I am excited about this new adventure that has been presented to us and which begins in a few days," Benavides said. "We hope to be able to give it everything and do well in the race. We imagine that, like every other Dakar, it‰Ûªs not going to be easy, which is why we have been preparing to perform as best we can in each stage."
Ricky Brabec. Photo: RallyZone
Also among the favourites will be American Ricky Brabec, number nine. The occasion marks a fifth participation in the world‰Ûªs toughest rally for the Californian. Brabec has experienced the Dakar in its rawest form, after being forced to withdraw just two days from the end of the last edition while holding a very solid overall lead.

"There are a few days left before the great battle commences. I am glad to be here, in a new country," Brabec enthused. "Everything so far has been going well, so I just trust that the good feelings will transfer onto the track and hopefully we will be able to get good results in this 2020 Dakar Rally."
Joan Barreda. Photo: RallyZone
Another rider likely to be in hot contention for the victory will be Joan Barreda, and not without reason, as the Spaniard has so far racked up 23 Dakar stage wins. With the number twelve decorating his bike, the rider from CastellÌ_n will be making a tenth Dakar participation, moving into the ‰ÛÏlegendary rider‰Û
Jos̩ Ignacio Cornejo. Photo: RallyZone
Young JosÌ© Ignacio Cornejo finished both his Dakar participations for Monster Energy Honda Team amongst the top ten. The Chilean believes it‰Ûªs time to make a move upwards and has high hopes that the Saudi terrain could be a perfect match for his riding style.

"Once again this year we line up for the start of the Dakar. This year I am very excited because the preparation has gone really well and the team is at its best after a long season. I hope I can get a good result. We will fight as hard as we can to achieve it," Cornejo said.

South African rider Aaron Mar̩, a residence in Dubai, is the latest addition to the team and will focus on the steep day-by-day learning curve that his first Dakar outing requires. The young rider is skilled in the dunes and should be the ideal pilote to round out the Monster Energy Honda Team.

"Well, it is my first Dakar and I wish I was able to explain my feelings. I am very excited about this huge challenge that we all have ahead," Mar̩ said. "So far everything has gone well; the tests, the races, the shakedown that we did yesterday and now we are ready to go out and give it some gas in the first stage. I hope everything goes well!"

The 2020 Dakar Rally starts on January 5 from the starting ramp set up in the Jeddah Corniche.
Aaron Mar̩. Photo: RallyZone

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