Monster Energy Honda Team lead the Dakar. Honda riders' podium lock-out

2020-01-08 03:32
It was an outstanding performance on track today from Ricky Brabec, José Ignacio Cornejo, Kevin Benavides and Joan Barreda on the looping circuit in Neom on stage three of the 2020 Dakar Rally. Monster Energy Honda Team riders currently occupy the top four positions in the general standings.

The Super Marathon stage wrapped up today with Monster Energy Honda Team riders scooping a fine haul of results. The 414-kilometre Neom loop proved to be a rewarding one for the crew who achieved the best stage CP times over the course of a lengthy and arduous special. The stage took place amid slippery gravel-filled mountain tracks connected by a breakneck high-speed section of off-piste racing through a valley. The navigation proved particularly taxing, but Brabec, Cornejo and Benavides were up to the task, giving Honda a podium lock-out at the end of the stage.

Earlier this morning, riders once again received the ready-to-use roadbooks just minutes before the race-start, but this was no impediment to Ricky Brabec, as the American Monster Energy Honda Team rider let rip on the Honda CRF450 RALLY registering the best times at the various waypoints of the special before reaching the goal back in Neom. The Californian now leads in the general standings.

José Ignacio Cornejo was also feeling at ease on this third stage of the rally in Saudi Arabia. Improving his skills as each day goes by, the Chilean made it home with the second best time of the day, less than six minutes behind Ricky Brabec.

Argentinean rider Kevin Benavides climbs positions on the 2020 Dakar overall leader board to second place, just 4’43 shy of his team-mate after a notable showing in the day’s tricky special where he took third place on the podium.

Joan Barreda likewise pushed hard to be among the frontrunners, posting sixth but still keeping his options open to stage an attack. The rider from Castellón holds fourth overall place some eleven minutes behind his team-mate.

Once the riders get back to the bivouac in Neom and have swapped information about the day’s event, they will again start work on the roadbook ahead of tomorrow’s fourth stage, given that the roll containing all the details of the course will once again be issued to each rider 25 minutes before the race on days five and six.

This is the … Stage 4

Link> 223 km – Special> 453 km – Total> 676 km

On the agenda this day you will find equal parts sandy stretches and gravel sections, mostly on tracks. However, do not confuse speed with precipitation, as the arduous navigation will require some clear choices. History buffs will be keen to get their cameras out as they pass close to Nabatean temples.

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Kevin Benavides 7
STAGE: 3rd OVERALL: 2nd

Today was a very nice stage, but a complicated one for the navigation. I started from fourth place. I caught up with the riders ahead and after I separated from the group and then I opened the way. I had a problem with one of the waypoints at kilometre 392. The roadbook was correct but the waypoint wasn’t there. I arrived there before all the other riders so I lost more time. After that the other riders arrived and we rode together in a group. Nevertheless, I’m very happy with the job done today. I felt very good on the bike. The navigation went really well. I will keep pushing ahead.

Kevin Benavides




Ricky Brabec 9
STAGE: 1st OVERALL: 1st

Today was actually really fun. The train was really epic. There were a lot of rocks, lots of stones, a lot of sand, and a lot of tricky navigation. It was really fast, which is what I really prefer. I had a good starting position today. I started a little bit back in twelfth position. I didn’t have too much dust. I past the first rider at kilometre 20. I knew today I could push. It was difficult. Every note that I thought was difficult I slowed down and took my time. I was pushing all day. We had three short specials. I was riding really well and I felt really good today. The roadbook is really good. The information here is really, really nice here. Tomorrow will be tricky. It’s always difficult opening because you have all the riders pushing behind you.

Ricky Brabec




Joan Barreda 12
STAGE: 6th OVERALL: 4th

It was a really tough stage with a lot of hours on the bike. I tried to keep cool-headed throughout as there were a few critical moments especially as far as the navigation was concerned. I’m very glad to have made it to the finish line without making any mistakes. So now we can start focusing on tomorrow’s stage. Everything has gone well for the team so far, but the tough rallying has barely begun.

Joan Barreda




José Ignacio Cornejo 17
STAGE: 2nd OVERALL: 5th

It went well today. It was a long stage, but an entertaining and complicated one. There were some very complicate areas for the navigation. It went well with a good pace, without making any mistakes but clocking up good partial times. In general, it was a very good day. I moved up a few positions in the overall standings. I felt really good and was comfortable with the bike. So I’m very pleased with the performance.

José Ignacio Cornejo




Results Stage 3
Pos. Rider Num Nation Team Time/Gap
1 Brabec Ricky 9 USA

Source: Honda Racing Corporation

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