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Ex-Yamaha rider van Beveren joins Honda for Dakar 2023

Adrien van Beveren will contest the 2023 edition of the Dakar Rally with Honda following the end of Yamaha's factory rally-raid programme.

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Yamaha announced back in February that this year's Dakar was its last in the legendary event as a works outfit, ending an unbroken spell of participation dating back to the inaugural race in 1979.

However, its top finisher from this year's edition has now found a home with arch-rival marque Honda, where he joins Ricky Brabec, Pablo Quintanilla and Jose Ignacio Cornejo in the factory line-up.

“I am really happy and excited with this opportunity!" said van Beveren. "I feel proud to become a Honda Racing rider, since HRC is the worldwide competition factory reference. I am sure it will be an incredible experience.

"To [ride] a red bike brings me good memories, since I had a Honda when I was 8 years old! In addition, it’s great to have Monster Energy onboard – I’ve been riding with them for more than 10 years”.

Honda's general manager and ex-rider Ruben Faria added: “We are very pleased with this announcement and we have already completed together the first tests with the Honda 450 CRF RALLY.

"There is great harmony in the team and I am sure Adrien will help us to achieve our competitive goals."

Honda's statement announcing van Beveren's arrival made no mention of the rider whose place he ostensibly takes, Joan Barreda.

 

The 38-year-old Spaniard battled injury to finish fifth in this year's Dakar, notching up two stage wins (bringing his career total to 29) before sitting out the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge in March to focus on his recovery.

According to Spanish publication Marca, Honda is waiting for a decision on whether Barreda opts to continue his top-line career on two wheels for what would be his 10th consecutive Dakar with the brand.

Barreda has previously openly floated the idea of switching from motorcycles to cars, a path well trodden by the likes of Stephane Peterhansel, Nani Roma and Cyril Despres over the years.

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