Of course it makes the most sense that Brabec, Metge, and Barreda will all go solo on rally bikes, and JC and Dudek are on stand-by just in case.
Another possibility (imo slim) is that 1 or more of those entries are solely on the list to get a better draw position (ie: use whichever is drawn soonest off the start line, forget the rest). As is the case with another entry on the list. $200 is cheap to increase your odds of going off the line 1st vs 6th.
Johnny has the HRC Dakar team over for training and testing.
Ricky Brabec posted on FB his little dunes incident in Sonora a few days ago. It's quite a challenge to go warp speed across miles of massive wide open dunes while reading the roadbook, and watching your compass and odometer. Chit happens!
Imagine you're following a roadbook across miles and miles of rocky California desert, in blazing hot August, in a region you've never been before, you come over a hill, and suddenly you're on the banks of the massive Colorado River. It's a cool beautiful unexpected surprise!
Years ago, I was telling JC about riding in the Sonora desert north of Rocky Point. Come to think of it, it was right before he got on the bike during the Baja 1000 while Dust to Glory was being filmed. We all had time to kill waiting for our bikes and we were talking about that part of Mexico. He asked a lot of questions about the dunes for the purpose of Dakar training and testing. Cool to see they have been training there.