Yamaha is the only brand that has featured in every Dakar Rally since its inception, with Frenchman Cyril Neveu taking victory aboard a Yamaha XT500 on the very first edition in 1979 and following that up with a second win a year later. Dakar Legend Stéphane Peterhansel scored a record six victories for Yamaha in the 1990s with Italian Edi Orioli adding to Yamaha's success in Africa with victory in the 1997 edition.
In more recent years the unique WR450F 2-Trac enjoyed a successful start in the 400cc Super Production category, finishing best in class at the 2004 and 2005 races with David Frétigné. He rode the bike to third overall at the first South American edition in 2009, with Hélder Rodrigues also finishing on the podium in 2011 and 2012, before Olivier Pain took third in 2014. For 2015, Yamaha brought a brand new WR450F Rally, with the Monster Energy Yamaha Rally Team coming close to podium finishes on several occasions, with Adrien van Beveren missing out on winning the 2018 edition just a few kilometres from the finish.
With 44 Dakar Rallies behind it, Yamaha will no longer race at the event with the WR450F Rally but will continue to have a presence in the SSV category supporting racers with its Yamaha YXZ1000R prototype project, which was raced in the 2021 and 2022 Dakar Rally editions, finishing 2nd and 6th as part of the ongoing development program. On two wheels the focus will shift to meeting evolving customer requirements in the off-road sector, considering the future introduction of the new Ténéré World Raid.
Yamaha would like to thank everyone involved in organising the Dakar Rally, the team’s crew, the riders and the sponsors who worked with the manufacturer over the last four decades and brought so much success and many emotions.