Honda have revealed they will be sending three riders to South America to contest the 2013 Dakar Rally. The Japanese manufacturer had intended to send five bikers to compete but injuries to Felipe Zanol and Sam Sunderland have forced Honda Team HRC to change their plans.

#3 Yamaha: Helder Rodrigues
#3 Yamaha: Helder Rodrigues

Photo by: Red Bull GmbH and GEPA pictures GmbH

Brazilian biker Felipe Zanol and British rider Sam Sunderland crashed and were injured during final pre-Dakar tests in the Mojave Desert. As a result of their injuries both riders will not be able to race the 2013 Dakar Rally.

Despite the set-backs there are still plenty of reasons for optimism within the Honda camp as Helder Rodrigues (Portugal), Javier Pizzolito (Argentina) and Johnny Campbell (USA) are all fit and ready for the challenges ahead.

Our team ethic is a big part of our strength and we will continue towards our goal of winning the Dakar

Katsumi Yamazaki

Katsumi Yamazaki of Honda Team HRC was understandably disappointed to lose the services of Felipe and Sam through injury but still believes the three remaining riders have the quality needed to succeed.

“Felipe Zanol and Sam Sunderland have been part of the program since the foundation of Honda Team HRC and have participated in all our preparations. They both gave us valuable advice on how to make our machine more competitive.

"Unfortunately, Felipe and Sam will not race the Dakar but they are still part of our team. Our team ethic is a big part of our strength and we will continue towards our goal of winning the Dakar.”

Red Bull Motorsport