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ADV NewsYamaha Quits Racing The Dakar Rally After 44 Editions

Yamaha Quits Racing The Dakar Rally After 44 Editions

The factory team says good-bye to rally racing on two-wheels.

Published on 02.18.2022

It is the end of an era. With 44 Dakar rallies under their belt, Yamaha is pulling the plug on its long and storied participation in the motorcycle class at both the Dakar Rally and the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship. The announcement follows their recent performance at the 2022 Dakar in which Adrien Van Beveren and Andrew Short finished in fourth and eighth place respectively after the team’s many years of setbacks. 

Yamaha has been a staple of the Dakar Rally throughout its history, being the only brand that has participated in every edition of the race since its inception. Notably, Frenchman Cyril Neveu took victory aboard a Yamaha XT500 on the very first edition in 1979 and followed that up with a second win a year later. Yamaha’s impressive performance continued with Dakar Legend Stéphane Peterhansel who scored a record six victories for the Japanese manufacturer in the 1990s. Italian Edi Orioli added to Yamaha’s success in Africa with victory in the 1997 edition.

Adrien Van Beveren grabbed fourth place at Dakar 2022
Adrien Van Beveren gave Yamaha a fourth place position at Dakar 2022.

In recent years the Dakar podium has been more elusive for Yamaha, which they last achieved back in 2014 when Olivier Pain took third. It appeared things were looking better for the brand with Van Beveren within reach of the podium at the 2022 edition, one year after their abysmal performance at the 2021 Dakar. However, Yamaha has decided it is in their best interest to put an end to their motorcycle factory presence at the famous race.


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“While the Dakar Rally has mainly succeeded in remaining close to its roots, even when it moved out of its spiritual home of Africa, the world in which it exists has changed considerably. Our off-road customers now have different expectations and they look for different products, and we must cater for these if we are to stay connected. It is for this reason we have decided to end our long history on two wheels at the Dakar Rally and in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies,” said Yamaha Motor Europe President, Eric de Seynes.

In spite of ending their motorcycle rally factory team, Yamaha will continue to support the SSV class at Dakar. Their off-road experience will also be focused on supporting the full potential of their popular adventure bike ― the Tenere 700.  “Yamaha’s commitment to Rally Raid events with motorcycles is not over, but our future engagement must have a closer connection to our customers and their aspirations, developing further the Ténéré 700 potential towards a direction which will enable them to rediscover the more adventurous side of Rallies,” added Seynes.

Author: ADV Pulse Staff
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11 thoughts on “Yamaha Quits Racing The Dakar Rally After 44 Editions

  1. It might be a sign of the Dakar rally slowly losing significance.
    And it very well be a big gain for the Africa Eco Race, as I expect it is where the Ténéré 700 rally special to be raced.

  2. Pingback: Rally Racing : YAMAHA WITHDRAWS FROM MOTORCYCLE RALLY RACING - Dirt Bike Magazine - K레이서97

  3. Hey, Yamaha. Just read the news that you are getting out of Dakar. You’re getting it all wrong. The T7 is nice… but what I really want is a street-legal 450WR. Come on… Honda can do it. Why can’t Yamaha? Go Team Blue!!!

  4. They redeemed themselves somewhat after taking fourth but their performance has been disappointing over the last decade…2021 was a disaster.

  5. This is probably just a ploy, to force the Dakar Rallye organizers to change the engine size limitations. Yamaha would love to race ( and advertise) the Dakar with the T7. This bike is now their bread and butter. They probably already sold all the WR450 they could sell. They don’t want to spend more money just to advertise this one bike. Makes sense in a way, everybody knows already that the WR450 are good bikes by now. Also probably much closer to what you can buy at your dealer compared to the Honda 450 Rallye. The Honda Factory is probably a better racing motorcycle, however what you can get at your dealership is not even close….

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