Team HRC have unveiled the five riders that will official go after Dakar glory at this year’s event in January…

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).

This new Team HRC 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 of 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.

Joan Barreda: “We will fight for the victory in the Dakar, that 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.”

Helder Rodrigues: “Since we started the project at the end of 2012, we have been constantly improving. The CRF450 RALLY is a really 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.”

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Paulo Goncalves: “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.”

Jeremias Israel: “What I can say? I’m very happy and proud to form part of an organisation 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 marvellous. It’s like a real Moto GP bike created for the desert.”

Laia Sanz: “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.”

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