Honda announced it will enter a works team in the 2013 Dakar Rally‘s motorcycle class, returning to the event for the first time in 23 years.
The Japanese manufacturer competed in the Rally from 1981 to 1989 when it was known as the Paris-Dakar Rally. Honda won five times during that period but then stopped entering its own team. The 2013 Dakar Rally will represent the first time Honda has entered a team in the motorcycle class since the race moved from Europe and Africa to South America in 2009.
Honda will enter a new prototype machine based on the CRF450X, which itself has a winning tradition in Baja racing. The prototype will be produced by Honda’s Motorccyle R&D Center. Honda will also develop kit parts for the standard CRF450X to be offered to other Dakar teams.
“The Dakar requires competitors to cover several hundred kilometers per day for more than two weeks. It needs a totally different type of vehicle from events such as motocross, trials and road races,” says Tetsuo Suzuki, senior managing officer and chief operating officer of Honda’s Motorcycle R&D Center. “Honda has put a great deal of effort into designing and building a powerful and winning machine. We are aiming for the championship from this first year.”
Representing Honda at the 2013 Dakar Rally will be Felipe Zanol, Sam Sunderland, Javier Pizzolito and Helder Rodrigues who finished third in the 2012 rally.