Dakar title holder Benavídes leaves Honda for KTM - Motor Informed

Dakar title holder Benavídes leaves Honda for KTM

Final January, Kevin Benavídes led Honda to his first double on the celebrated rally-raid since 1987, defeating 2019 winner Ricky Brabec and a pack of KTMs. A end result which solely made him the second Argentinian to win on the Dakar after Marcos Patronelli in 2010 (in quad), and due to this fact the primary within the extremely aggressive bike class.

The 32-year-old driver had been linked to Honda since 2015, when his South American sponsors allowed him to participate within the Rallye du Maroc. He then completed in a formidable fourth place on his debut. Just a few months later, Benavídes made his debut on the Dakar, the place he additionally completed fourth, earlier than climbing to second place the next yr.

However after enjoying a pivotal position in Honda’s back-to-back successes in 2020 and 2021, the Argentinian joins rival model KTM for the rest of the season and years to return. He’ll take part within the FIM rally-raid World Championship with the Austrian producer, earlier than returning to the Dakar subsequent January, in Saudi Arabia. Its first outing in its new colours ought to due to this fact happen throughout Rally Kazakhstan in early June.

“I’m very excited to affix Crimson Bull KTM Manufacturing facility Racing, it is a huge, huge change for me”, stated Benavídes. “As a Dakar winner, it is an essential new chapter in my racing profession. I’ve all the time been a fan of KTM bikes, Crimson Bull and the way in which the crew is organized.”

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Along with his switch, Benavídes additionally shared his program and objectives. “I sincerely assume that is the only option to enhance myself and to have the ability to go on to win extra Dakar victories and the title of World Champion”, the Argentine revealed. “The thought, after my first go to to the manufacturing facility in Austria, is to go to Dubai to spend time on the bike and with the crew. For this yr, the aim is to adapt to the bike too. as rapidly as attainable and get to know the crew members in order that I really feel at house and concentrate on my driving. “

Though already profitable with Honda, Benavídes’s ambition stays intact. “Occupied with subsequent yr, the final word aim can be to win a second Dakar in a row. I already had the prospect to be supported by the manufacturing facility in enduro a number of years in the past, so be again on a KTM with Crimson Bull KTM Manufacturing facility Racing is a dream and an actual honor. I am actually grateful for this chance and might’t wait to race! “

KTM recorded a document 18 Dakar victories on the flip of the century, earlier than that sequence was halted by Brabec in 2020, when the occasion was relocated to Saudi Arabia.

Staff supervisor Jordi Viladoms was additionally passionate about welcoming the defending winner. “It’s an thrilling time for Crimson Bull KTM Manufacturing facility Racing, and we’re joyful to welcome Kevin to the crew. His outcomes communicate for themselves and I’m positive his technical background, his expertise in addition to his motivation will convey rather a lot to the crew. This, mixed with our huge expertise, ensures a strong collaboration which we consider shall be useful for all of us. “

At KTM too, the ambitions are excessive, and the arrival of Benavídes is the most recent step in a challenge to win again the title. “Our rally schedule is present process some modifications as we concentrate on the longer term in addition to our objectives of profitable the World Championship, and bringing the Dakar title again to Austria.”, Viladoms stated. “We’re wanting ahead to beginning our testing program with Kevin and are prepared for the primary spherical of the World Championship within the coming months.”

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