Quite some time after Stage 4 of the 2017 Dakar Rally concluded, the ASO handed down massive penalties to a bevy of Honda riders, including the HRC factory team, to the tune of roughly an hour each.

The crime? The ASO says that Joan Barreda, Michael Metge, Paulo Gonçalves, Ricky Brabec, Franco Caimi, and Pedro Bianchi Prata all refueled in an prohibited zone during Thursday’s Stage 4.

This development drops Joan Barreda from first to seventh in the standings, roughly 40 minutes behind the new race leader: Husqvarna’s Pablo Quintanilla. While not an insurmountable time deficit, it will require a herculean effort from any of the Honda riders to overcome this setback.

Honda does have the ability to appeal the decision, though early indications from the ASO suggest that the refueling in a prohibited space is a pretty cut-and-dry issue. Still, we will have to wait and see what news Friday brings us in this developing story.

It should be noted though, rally raid racing is as much a sport on the course, as it is a rigorous exercise in precision. This has been a lesson that HRC has been learning the hard way, the past few years racing The Dakar.

Source: ASO

  • Ryan Donahue

    That picture! Rather fitting, if I do say so myself.

  • Steve

    How does something like this happen? I mean the teams have to know where the zones are right?

  • It’s a big rulebook, and I imagine some mistakes are learned the hard way.

  • ;)

  • Steve

    Seems like a really basic thing though. Costly for sure.

  • BBQdog

    When you are out of gas you have to refill, if you are in or out a fill zone.
    Or you can push your bike to a refill zone. What time does that cost apart
    from the question if you will make it at all ?
    Seems more they misjudged the fuel use or something else..

  • Steve

    I hadn’t contemplated that because they all refueled in a prohibited zone, but you’re right, they could have miscalculated for the whole group and blew it.

  • Albertus Magnus

    It’s actually strange because it’s not like these are all first time riders and crew. They know the rulebook. It seems quite odd.

  • Gadfly57

    Between this and Phillip island 2013, I think Honda may need to have rulebook classes

  • paulus

    The folly of running less than full tanks during any stage… must be a team level miscalculation for them all to have the same issue.