Cyril Despres leaves KTM factory team

Is this year's Dakar winner headed to Honda? That's what rumours say.
Is this year’s Dakar winner headed to Honda? That’s what rumours say.

Five-time Dakar champion Cyril Despres has left the KTM factory team.

Despres won the 2005, 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2013 Dakar rallies; with teammate Marc Coma, he helped establish KTM as the top team in the classic desert race. But now he’s not on their 2013 roster, and rumours have him headed to Honda.

If that’s true, it could shake up the Dakar rally considerably. However, KTM still has Marc Coma, up-and-comer Ruben Faria (second-place finisher in 2013), and also Kurt Caselli, who stepped in to replace Coma at this year’s Dakar, and fared very well. This year’s third-place finisher, Chaleco Lopez, who finished third overall this year, is also aboard a factory-supported KTM.

But if Despres goes to Honda, it’s hard to imagine Big Red will stay off the podium for long.

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