Brabec gives Honda its first Dakar win in 31 years, dethroning dominant KTM.

For years, KTM has been the team to beat at the Dakar Rally. That happened in 2020 when Ricky Brabec rode his Honda to the finish line first, completing the course in 40 hours, two minutes, and 36 seconds.

Brabec knew he had what it takes to win Dakar. In 2019 he held a solid lead until two days before the end when a mechanical failure put him out of the race. No doubt highly frustrated, he channeled that energy into doing whatever it took to come out on top in 2020. He did so, giving Honda its first Dakar win in 31 years.

This was 28-year-old Brabec's fifth consecutive year racing Dakar for Honda. After a long absence, Honda returned to Dakar in 2013 running its CRF450 Rally. They seem to have the bike figured out rather well at this point, as Brabec was not the only successful Honda rider. Teammates José Ignacio Cornejo finished fourth overall, and Joan Barreda placed seventh, putting three Monster Energy Honda Team riders in the top ten.

Behind Brabec, Pablo Quintanilla finished second on a Husqvarna, 16 minutes, 26 seconds later. Don't count out KTM yet, with Toby Price coming in eight minutes behind Quintanilla. After Brabec's teammate Cornejo came KTM riders Matthias Walkner and Luciano Benavides, so KTM is certainly not out of contention yet. Honda's Barreda had been running in sixth place, but an engine change on the second to last day earned him a 15-minute penalty, losing him the position to KTM's Benavides. Franco Caimi finished eighth on the top Yamaha, followed by Americans Skyler Howes and Andrew Short, both on Husqvarnas.

 

Sources: Honda, Dakar 2020, Motorsport.com