It’s a new year and that means it’s time for the world’s best known rally race: Dakar! The race kicks off Jan. 3 in Buenos Aires, Argentina, making it the perfect subject for this week’s video.

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For the first time since 2004, the motorcycle class will have a winner not named Cyril Despres or Marc Coma. Despres switched to race in the car class last year and will again race for Team Peugeot Total while Coma has retired to become the Dakar Rally’s sporting director. With the two five-time winners not racing motorcycles, the class will be wide open this year.

KTM will again be the favorite manufacturer to win the motorcycle class, having won the last 14 races. Jordi Viladoms, Toby Price, Matthias Walkner, Antoine Meo and Laia Sanz will take up the orange banner, hoping to live up to the legacy left by Coma and Despres. Honda will a tough challenger, after finishing second the last two seasons. Joan Barreda, Paulo Goncalves, Michael Metge, Paolo Ceci and Rick Brabec will race for Honda which would love nothing more than a Dakar victory to coincide with the launch of the Africa Twin. Meanwhile, Yamaha will be represented by Helder Rodrigues, Alessandro Boturri, Xavier de Soultrait and Adrien Van Beveren.

  • Old MOron

    Even if they don’t race from Paris to Dakar anymore, this is still a cool race. I didn’t realize that KTM had such a long winning streak. This year I’m hoping (against hope) for a Sherco or Beta win.

    • Sayyed Bashir

      KTM will win again.

  • 12er

    800 mile section today, ugh… I dont even like going that far on a street bike in a day. No comment on the first chinese woman competitor…