The Dakar Rally 2022 will be held on January 1 - 14, 2022, in which Monster Energy Honda Team will compete. How did the Honda factory team perform in 2021?
Ricky Brabec wins Sonora Rally
The seventh edition of the Sonora Rally was staged in the Altar desert in the state of Sonora in Northern Mexico, from May 9 to 14. Monster Energy Honda Team was represented by Dakar 2020 champion Ricky Brabec, and José Ignacio Cornejo in his first Sonora Rally. The riders would compete in five stages over a distance of 1500 km.
Brabec shone at Sonora. Against rivals sharpening their skills in preparation for Dakar 2022, he dominated throughout, winning two of the five stages. This was Brabec’s third consecutive Sonora Rally victory, which he won by more than 13 minutes. Teammate Cornejo adapted fast to the race, winning the final stage and earning third place overall.
Monster Energy Honda Team defends at Andalucia
Monster Energy Honda Team went into the Andalucia Rally (May 12 - 16, 2021) as defending champions. Joining Joan Barreda was Chilean Pablo Quintanilla on his debut with the team. Runner-up to Brabec in Dakar 2020, Quintanilla was no stranger to rally racing.
Quintanilla adapted to the team well. On the final 185km special stage, Quintanilla took his Honda CRF450 RALLY to third within the first kilometer, and secured third overall by winning the stage. Spaniard Barreda was not as fast as his teammate in the special stage, but otherwise competed the race with an overall time of 10:47’32, successfully defending last year’s win for Monster Energy Team Honda.
Quintanilla wins Morocco with final stage victory
The 2021 Morocco Rally, considered by many as the precursor to the Dakar Rally 2022, was held on October 7 - 13. In 2020, the rally had been canceled and replaced by Andalucia due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Monster Energy Honda Team performed well in Morocco. In the final 166km stage, Quintanilla’s pace was devastating throughout, overtaking fellow contenders to win the stage and the race. Brabec was runner-up in the final stage, fourth overall. Monster Energy Honda Team’s José Ignacio Cornejo was tenth overall, and Barreda was 11th.
Monster Energy Honda Team won three out of three rallies in 2021, eager to keep the pace up at the Dakar Rally 2022.