I think you might be very close to the mark.
It is the sort of thinking - fuel consumption - that Honda would have. Or, the sort of 'argument' proponents of a Dakar / Rally effort within Honda would use as a Big Thing to get / help justify re-entering the Dakar / Rally scene.
Off course, along with the massive publicity that Dakar gets.
Look at the styling of the team bikes / customer (pre-production?) kits. Really Look. There's a real "family" style to the 'fairing'. Have a squizz at the CBRs - all types, the Cross Tours, the new 3 bike 500 platform. The forward 'wing / radiator shroud' below the nose piece, and the 'straight line' along the downwards edge below it. A very "family" style of bodywork.
Honda won't win - never would have expected to win this first time back
. They are just getting back into it. They'll sort things, and probably use lessons learnt throughout the corp. Possibly / most likely with regards to a new / updated CRFX base bike, or, in these straightened times, just another 'model' bike, through different bodywork on the existing CRFX platform. Hey Presto! - A new Rally / Rallye Bike!. Take the market for a 450 Adventure Bike, right from under the nose of KTM, and others.
They'll hire an Alien. If Cyril gets this one, Coma becomes 'available', they might be in line for a very big final contract / paycheck. Contracts, can be broken...........
A bloke like Barreda Bort looks like being just a step away from that "Alien" category. And / Or grow / nurture their own - Sam S might be the one they had / have in mind, for a "Alien Growth Project". With apologies to Sam's Mum.
Honda, have influenced so many other sectors of Motorcycle Sport. Hell, why not use their influence to push for Fuel Capacity Restrictions / Fuel Economy. That will push All bikes to be using fuel injection in Rallies - no carbs..........not even for KTM
Even the mighty (please note - a level of sarcasm here) Honda, can stuff up, and miscalculate the amount of fuel needed. I'd say there may be a fair few engineers stunned by the "non constant wheel spin" or, " wildly variable wheel spin, not fitting within their projected parameters" they've recorded. After all, these are only, just Dirt Bikes
- not Moto GP bikes (note sarcasm again).
= PGM FI Dakar engineers, just before they fall on their swords.
Remember the EXP / EXP2 bikes - Jean Brucy's 5th outright, on a 400cc 2t. That was a "fuel economy project", if ever there was one (to get it passed by Honda's' higher ups). The same "idea", but of course, with their favoured 4ts, could be a Very Large part of Honda being back. Some engineers, with a love for racing, can think 'laterally', when they are pushing to get back into 'having fun' - Oops - developing new technology, for the benefit of the corporation.
Having Fun, For Profit, comes to mind. Engineers, who love racing, can be crafty blighters.
PS : An updated version of the EXP2 = The World, set to rights. And the kicking of a lifetime for the 4ts out there. Of course, it will Never Happen. Just a fantasy of mine. Hopefully, some other company may eventually do something.
Honda = All Four Stroke, All The Time. Such is life...........