Yamaha Motor France has today announced the signing of a two year deal with 2013 Dakar Rally Champion Cyril Despres. Despres will spearhead Yamaha’s quest for victory in the 2014 as well as 2015 Dakar Rally on the Yamaha YZ450F based machine. The Frenchman will also take part in the Sardegna Rally, Rally Dos Setoes and the Desafio Inca.
This is quite a surprising announcement that comes after the five time Dakar winner left KTM in March this year. Despres had been with the Austrian manufacturer for 12 years, racking up 10 Dakar podiums.
“I am very motivated by the idea of joining Yamaha’s ‘men in blue’,” Despres said today.
“I remember watching them on TV as a boy and dreaming… Within the brand I have discovered a strong feeling of family, with an excellent flow of communication and a technical staff that is motivated and open to feedback. I am certain we will form a strong, united team, focused on one objective: achieving victory. I am also delighted to have Michael Metge as support rider. He is an ambitious newcomer who entered his first Dakar successfully this year and is extremely motivated.”
“We had the chance of meeting Cyril Despres after the 2013 Dakar. Straightaway we understood that not only has he the experience, technical know-how and riding ability to make the Yamaha shine, but also that we share the same values and ambitions. He gave us the desire to work with him because his straightforward manner and professional approach won us over.”
Despres will ride Yamaha’s YZF450 Rally. This bike took French rider David Casteu and Dutch challenger Frans Verhoeven to a stage victory each as well as holding the overall lead for four days during the first week in the hands of French rider Olivier Pain in this year’s Dakar Rally.
Watch a video of Despres ripping around on the YZF450 Rally here.