“We can win this Dakar”
Joan Barreda is both dismayed and confident. His last two Dakars are still a pain the backside of his career. Last year he dropped out with a blown engine on the Uyuni stage 6, which followed his 2015 17th place result far from his fast riding and proven talent. But Uyuni was again his nemesis, with a crash and broken handlebar that saw his chance of a podium vanish. Two sub-par performance that, despite the bitter taste they leave, are not enough to stop him from lining up for the 7th time with peace of mind and confidence. The leader of the Monster Energy Honda Team hit the reset button and in total harmony with the team, refined the season, making the Dakar the priority. The world champion paid the price for this strategy. “Bang Bang” Barreda and HRC emphasised endurance. Thus, they decided to submit the bike to demands that are close to those of the Dakar. Barreda ran on tracks he had never before done to prepare: the China Grand Rally, Las Vegas - Reno and the Desafio Ruta 40 in Argentina. Each time out the rider from Castellon rode his CRF 450, multiplying testing as the well to create the conditions to finally win the Dakar, which he been aiming to do for the past three years.
J.B.B. “The goal of this year of preparation was to make a more reliable and more resistant bike. It wasn't about power. To reach this objective I put in the kilometres. The bike is reliable, especially the engine, which is an important point. Last year, the electrical connections got weaker as the days went by. Today, they are much more reliable. We didn't fix everything because you can never be 100% sure on a rally like the Dakar that is a particularly long and demanding, more than any other. We increased testing and simulations. All this work has contributed to build a lot of confidence. Today, I can say that the bike is agile, easy to handle and very nice. This Dakar is important because if it goes well, there are some nice plans in the pipeline with the Japanese. There is mutual confidence between the team and myself. If we can avoid mechanical problems we can win this Dakar. We cannot afford to miss out.”