Dakar Rally 2020
Stage 12 Haradh-Qiddiya

  • Historic Victory for Ricky Brabec and Honda at the Dakar 2020

    Over 30 years have passed since Honda last triumphed in the Dakar Rally. In 2020, Monster Energy Honda Team has once again laid claim to the coveted bronze Tuareg prize. Ricky Brabec makes history to become the first ever American to win the world's toughest and cruelest rally.


Report

Historic Victory for Ricky Brabec and Honda at the Dakar 2020

January 17, 2020


Over 30 years have passed since Honda last triumphed in the Dakar Rally. In 2020, Monster Energy Honda Team has once again laid claim to the coveted bronze Tuareg prize. Ricky Brabec makes history to become the first ever American to win the world's toughest and cruelest rally.

After eight years in pursuit of glory, the dream has finally come true. Ricky Brabec rewarded Honda with a much desired victory. Honda had returned to the Dakar in 2013 after a 23-year absence, yet after numerous stage wins and two overall runner-up spots, the principle objective remained elusive. However, on an eighth attempt in the 2020 edition, success finally materialized. The result is, without doubt, the fruit of much long-term work by engineers, mechanics and riders, who have spared no effort to accomplish the mission of outright victory in the Dakar Rally.

Today, on the final 12th stage, Ricky Brabec made history by becoming the first American to have his name inscribed amongst the winners of the planet's most grueling odyssey. Brabec dominated the rally from start to finish, and today, after finishing the final special stage in second place, was able to seal the victory that he sought over the past five campaigns: overall winner of the Dakar Rally 2020. The Monster Energy Honda Team ace snatched the leadership on day three and refused to relinquish the top spot until the race wrapped up, two stage victories and 5000 kilometers later.

Brabec's success is likewise the success of Honda, whose riders held top positions throughout the rally. José Ignacio Cornejo, the winner of the final stage, posted fourth overall and Joan Barreda seventh after the previous day's engine swap. Kevin Benavides recounted good sensations and finished 19th overall.

Comments

Ricky Brabec, STAGE: 2nd FINAL: 1st

"We finally did it! This victory couldn't possibly be better for Honda and the team. It was a tough and long race, but the team worked great together. The riders were good, the mechanics were good, the whole team worked really well. The bikes were really good in today's final stage, and our main goal was for everyone to get here safely. I can't thank everybody enough. The Honda team, and everybody that stands behind us, I thank all of you. I'm also deeply grateful to my teammate until last year, Paulo Goncalves. This was the first time for the event in Saudi Arabia, and the scenery was insane. I love it! We're going to be back next year!"

José Ignacio Cornejo, STAGE: 1st FINAL: 4th

"Today's stage was short but intense. I battled it out with Walkner and Luciano Benavides. They started out in front of me, so I started the special very focused, trying to reduce the time. In the end I didn't make any mistakes and was able to win the final stage of the Dakar, and thus finish fourth in the general standings. I'm very happy with the way the entire rally went. The team has finally achieved the victory we were looking for after so many years. I'm very happy with the whole team, they have worked so hard."

Kevin Benavides, STAGE: 6th FINAL: 19th

"It has been a very difficult Dakar with all the situations we have experienced. Paulo's loss has undoubtedly been the toughest. Then with my engine breaking down which put me out of the fight to win the Dakar. But even so, I kept my head up and gave my all every single day. I won a stage and made the podium several times. This leaves me with a good taste in my mouth. With the engine issue aside, I kept up a very fast pace which gives me a lot of comfort. That's the way rallies are. Next year I will come back even stronger."

Joan Barreda, STAGE: 16th FINAL: 7th

"This was a Dakar that from the beginning was really tough for me. I spent a few days with some great difficulties, but little by little I began pulling back and picking up pace. I had a bit of bad luck with the cancellation of the two stages and the change of engine also penalized me. But in the end the good feelings came back. We have to stay positive but despite all the difficulties, I have finished another Dakar."

Ruben Faria, General Manager

"I want to thank all the 33 people who make up this team. We have worked really hard; we have prepared this Dakar very well. We have suffered; we have battled until the final moment. When I was racing the Dakar there were three riders, Paulo Gonçalves, Hélder Rodrigues and I. Hélder is also now on the team working alongside the riders. I want to congratulate him because without him in the team it would have been really difficult; he has done a great job. I also want to congratulate Johnny Campbell who did an excellent job with Ricky. Thanks to all people from all areas of the team.

"I want to dedicate this Dakar to two people: Paulo, who lost his life doing what he loved best, and my father who also passed away and would very much have liked to see this Honda victory. This Dakar has not been easy after the loss of our friend Paulo Gonçalves. Personally he was a great friend of mine with whom I shared many things in common; it hasn't been at all easy.

"Congratulations to the team riders, who all performed greatly. It was a pity about Kevin who had the issue with the bike and was not in the running for the victory. Joan Barreda, who started with an injury, gave it everything day after day and fought until the end. And Jose Ignacio Cornejo also did a spectacular job, winning two stages, which shows the determination and commitment that Nacho has to this work."

Results

Dakar Rally 2020 Stage 12

Rank Rider (Team)
1 José Ignacio Cornejo (Monster Energy Honda Team)
2 Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy Honda Team)
3 Toby Price (RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM)
4 Luciano Benavides (RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM)
5 Pablo Quintanilla (ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING)
6 Kevin Benavides (Monster Energy Honda Team)
16 Joan Barreda (Monster Energy Honda Team)

Overall

Rank Rider (Team)
1 Ricky Brabec (Monster Energy Honda Team)
2 Pablo Quintanilla (ROCKSTAR ENERGY HUSQVARNA FACTORY RACING)
3 Toby Price (RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM)
4 José Ignacio Cornejo (Monster Energy Honda Team)
5 Matthias Walkner (RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM)
6 Luciano Benavides (RED BULL KTM FACTORY TEAM)
7 Joan Barreda (Monster Energy Honda Team)
19 Kevin Benavides (Monster Energy Honda Team)

Photos