HRC ready to challenge KTM and Yamaha Motor Europe at the 2015 Desafio Inca
The 2015 edition of the Desafío Inca is set to bring the world's best competitors and teams head-to-head in the fight to win the last leg of this season's Dakar Series. The official Honda Racing Corporation (HRC) team has confirmed its participation, with Joan Barreda, fully recovered from his knee injury, spearheading a squad that will also feature Paulo Gonçalves, Michael Metge and Jeremías Israel.
HRC will settle for no less than the overall triumph at the third edition of the Desafío Inca in Peru. Joan Barreda's return to competition following a right-knee injury in the last Desafío Ruta 40 in Argentina is one of the world's most awaited comebacks. Barreda Bort, a first-class motorcycle rider, spent most of the last Dakar Rally in the lead before mechanical problems on Salar de Uyuni pushed him back to seventeenth place overall. However, the runner-up in last year's Cross-Country Rallies World Championship remains one of the big favourites to claim the next edition of the toughest rally raid in the world. The Spanish rider has already won 13 stages and raced in every edition since 2011, with a seventh place overall at the 2014 Dakar as his best performance so far.
Barreda Bort will be flanked by Portugal's Paulo Gonçalves, the winner of the most recent Desafío Ruta 40 in Argentina, newly crowned champion of the first leg of the 2015 Dakar Series and runner-up in the motorcycle category of the most recent Dakar Rally. Gonçalves, the winner of the 2013 Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, will light the fireworks on his quest for victory. The Portuguese is having a great season so far, and the Desafío Inca will be a key milestone in his build-up to the 2016 Dakar, where he has his sights firmly set on victory.
French rider Michael Metge, a new signing for the 2016 Dakar, will strengthen the field of the Desafío Inca in his debut for the team, as he seeks to open up new paths to glory for HRC. The Frenchman, who finished 18th in the 2013 Dakar and 13th in the 2014 edition, as well as coming second in the 2010 European Enduro Championship, wants to carve his mark on Peruvian soil. So does Chile's Jeremías Israel (winner of the Dakar Challenge at the 2012 Desafío Litoral), one of South America's leading motorcycle riders, who is building on the experience of three Dakar starts to find the perfect build-up that will maximise his chances in the toughest rally in the world next year.