Honda is the official motorcycle of Dakar 2015.
Honda is the world’s largest and most successful motorcycle manufacturer and makes more internal combustion engines than any other organisation. But the company’s scale and achievements are powered more by human emotions and passion than metal valves and pistons.
Joy is a fundamental emotion for Honda and the company combines the joy of buying, selling and creating with respect for the individual. On a corporate level, it is dreams that inspire Honda to create innovative products that enhance mobility and benefit society.
The company’s founder Soichiro Honda once famously said that ‘racing improves the breed’ and, to prove his theory, he first took a team to the Isle of Man TT in 1959 to begin a long and epic journey.
Success followed, with Honda’s first TT win recorded by Mike Hailwood just two years later, and now, more than 50 years on, that success has not stopped.
Honda’s association with the Dakar goes back many years and during nine years of participation between 1981 and 1989, Honda won no fewer than five times.
Returning with Team HRC and the CRF450 Rally machine, Honda Dakar will strive to increase that tally of victories in 2015 and beyond.
Now with Honda Dakar, after having ridden for Husqvarna and Aprilia in his first two Dakars, Joan Barreda Bort is, since last year, a member of a team with plenty of resources and absolute ambition. Having to produce results worthy of his status as team leader, today he accepts this pressure without forgetting his race philosophy: that of an unrelenting attacker. On stage 5 of the 2014 Dakar, Barreda suffered fuel problems, while leading overall, and lost 40 minutes. But he continued to battle, taking three more stage wins as he tried to keep the pressure on Marc Coma from his second place position, which he wound up losing when he crashed on the penultimate day of the rally. Between a fiery temperament and proven experience (10 stage wins, 2nd place in the 2014 FIM World Rally-Raid Championship) Barreda’s sole ambition now is overall victory on a rebuilt bike with a strong team, now under the leadership of team manager, Wolfgang Fischer.
J.B.B.: “Last year the goal was to win. But stage five, which was difficult enough, cost me a lot of time following the fuel problems. I then decided to attack because that is my philosophy and because I had to put the pressure on the race leader. And yet I crashed on the penultimate stage when I was comfortably in 2nd place. During the rest of the year we did a tremendous amount of work on the bike. It is renovated and rebuilt, even if its looks the same. We decided to make more pragmatic adjustments in order to rely less on a certain sophistication. It is also lighter thanks to a change in weight distribution. It is also smaller and we have changed the navigation post. I was also able to do a lot of testing in Tunisia, Morocco but also in the United States. We are ready. Our ambition is total because we are really competitive.”