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Press  Release: Hero MotoCorp Ltd., today forayed into the world of motorcycle rally racing by forming a strategic partnership with Speedbrain GmbH, the German off-road racing specialist. The newly formed ‘Hero MotoSports Team Rally’ will make its debut at the Merzouga Rally in Morocco later this month, a Dakar series race.

The team will be riding on the upgraded version of the successful Speedbrain 450 rally bike. The Merzouga Rally will be held from May 21 to 27 2016. The Hero MotoSports Team Rally will also participate in international rallies across the globe, leading up to the Dakar rally 2017.

Hero Rally Bike

Flying the new colours will be the riders CS Santosh and Joaquim Rodrigues.

Santosh, the off-road motorcycle star from India, has participated in several international rally events and is poised to make a mark in the global racing arena. His teammate ‘J-Rod’ from Portugal is a rookie in rally sport. However, being a former Motocross and Supercross factory pilot, he is extremely professional with strong determination to prove his talent. The team will be headed by Mr. Wolfgang Fischer, Managing Director, Speedbrain.

The Hero MotoSports Team Rally will be under the direct supervision of Dr. Markus Braunsperger, Chief Technology Officer (CTO), Hero MotoCorp, and will work in close collaboration with his team at the Hero Centre of Innovation and Technology. The Hero MotoSports Team Rally will also assist in development and testing of new Hero vehicles concepts, using the data collected from the races.

Mr. Pawan Munjal, Chairman, MD and CEO, Hero MotoCorp Ltd., said, “In the recent past, we have rapidly expanded our global footprint and also made significant investments in enhancing our R&D capabilities. Motorsport is a natural progression for us, as it will allow us to bring value-added products with top-of-the-line technology for our millions of customers. This initiative is also reflective of our consistent support to sports and sportspersons. I welcome Santosh and Joaquim on board and wish them all the very best.”

Dr. Markus Braunsperger, Chief Technology Officer, Hero MotoCorp Ltd., said, “Hero products are known for their robustness, reliability and quality. It is, therefore, a logical step for us to engage in International Rally Sports – which is the ultimate proving ground for any product and its components. In Speedbrain we have a very professional and technologically capable partner and we look forward to a fruitful journey together.”

Mr. Wolfgang Fischer, Managing Director, Speedbrain GmbH, said, “After several successful years in the rally raid sport, collecting tons of experience and creating a very specialised, motivated and loyal race team and the conceptual skills on how to build an efficient and competitive bike, we are more than happy to form a new, strategic partnership with Hero MotoCorp, to realise our common vision for the future.”

About Hero MotoCorp Ltd.:
For the past 15 consecutive years, the New Delhi-headquartered Hero MotoCorp has remained the world’s largest two-wheeler manufacturer in terms of unit volumes sold by a single company in a calendar year. The company sold over 6.63 million two-wheelers in the last financial year (FY’16). Hero MotoCorp currently sells its products in 30 countries across the world.

Hero MotoCorp has been associated with various disciplines of sports including golf, cricket, field hockey and football for over two decades now. 14-time major winner Tiger Woods is Hero’s Global Corporate Partner. Hero is a long-term partner of FIH, the apex body of international field hockey, and was earlier one of the Global Partners of the International Cricket Council (ICC).

About Speedbrain GmbH:
Speedbrain GmbH is an owner-operated company located in Germany, developing and producing innovative rally competition bikes. Since 2006 Speedbrain has been running racing teams in multiple worldwide motorcycle championships and individual race events.

About CS Santosh:
CS Santosh is one of India´s top motorsport athletes. The two-time Dakar participant – and first ever Indian – has won pretty much everything aboard a dirt bike in India for nine straight years. Santosh took victory in the Raid-de-Himalaya (2012) and the Maruti Desert Storm (2014) in his maiden attempt. He finished the Dakar 2015 in 36th position as a rookie.

About Joaquim Rodrigues:
Joaquim Rodrigues is a truly decorated racer. The 34-year-old Portuguese has won titles and races in Motocross, Supercross and Enduro. The versatile and likeable offroad rider, nickname J-Rod, is now setting his sights on ‘Dakar-style’ rally raid competition. Looking at his achievements in over 15 years of professional racing, there are high chances Rodrigues will do alright in his rookie year at the Hero MotoSports Team Rally.