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Ténéré World Raid Team Ready to Kickstart Expanded 2023 Season in Morocco

Ténéré World Raid Team Ready to Kickstart Expanded 2023 Season in Morocco

After a successful inaugural year, the Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team, in partnership with Riders for Health, returns for its second season with an expanded rally program in 2023, including the launch of the all-new Ténéré Spirit Experience, which begins with the Morocco Desert Challenge from the 23rd to the 30th of April.

The Ténéré World Raid Team was set up not only to continue Yamaha’s rich and storied history of racing in Africa, which started in 1979 with victory for Cyril Neveu in the first-ever running of the Paris Dakar Rally, but also to focus on reconnecting Yamaha's Rally program with the genuine spirit of adventure using machines that customers can also enjoy.

It is this rich history in the Paris Dakar that is commemorated with the livery that will adorn the bikes of the Ténéré World Raid Team this season. Based on the iconic colourway raced to victory in 1993 by Dakar legend Stéphane Peterhansel, the distinctive retro styling also celebrates a significant milestone for the Yamaha Ténéré family, which celebrates its 40th anniversary this year.

Riders Alessandro Botturi and Pol Tarrés return for the 2023 season on board their GYTR-kitted Yamaha Ténéré 700 World Raid bikes as they look to build on the impressive results they achieved during their first year.

The Ténéré World Raid Team project continues to grow from strength to strength, and in 2023 it will expand its schedule to compete in five rallies. After beginning their season at the Morocco Desert Challenge, the team will also take part in the Hellas Rally (22nd-28th May), the TransAnatolia (2nd-9th September), and the Tunisia Desert Challenge (October – Date TBC), before ending the year by re-tracing the original Paris-Dakar route at the Africa Eco Race (30th December – 14th January).

The new season also brings new management, with Marc Bourgeois taking over the running of the team through his company MBSM on behalf of Yamaha. The former official Yamaha Dakar and Enduro World Championship team manager brings a wealth of experience to the project and will spearhead an exciting new Yamaha Motor Europe program for 2023, the Ténéré Spirit Experience.

Over 40,000 riders across Europe are already enjoying the high torque engine, agile handling, and serious off-road capabilities that make the Ténéré 700 one of the most versatile motorcycles ever produced by Yamaha. Living up to the bike’s heritage and offering a unique way for people to embrace their longing for adventure, for 2023, Yamaha Motor Europe is offering Ténéré owners the chance to fulfil a dream by joining the Ténéré World Raid Team at each of the rallies they are competing in.

At each event, up to 20 Ténéré Spirit Experience customers will be transported with their bikes to the rally, where they will get to ride parts of each stage while following a route parallel to the main race competitors. The participants will travel with and live alongside the Ténéré World Raid Team and riders in the bivouac, creating a truly once-in-a-lifetime experience that will give them a taste of what it is like to compete in Rally Raid and perhaps fuel their own racing ambitions.

Throughout the year, several special guests will also participate in the Ténéré Spirit Experience, riding alongside the customers while sharing with them their unique knowledge and passion for racing. Fittingly, at the Morocco Desert Challenge, the first guest to join the program is also the man that inspired the commemorative livery on the race bikes of Tarres and Botturi, Stéphane Peterhansel. The Frenchman is the most successful Dakar competitor of all time, with six victories for Yamaha in the bike category and a further eight victories on four wheels. Peterhansel will accompany the Ténéré Spirit Experience riders in Morocco for the last four days of the rally, returning on two wheels to the continent on which he wrote his name large in the record books for the first time.

The 2023 season also sees the extension of the project’s partnership with Riders for Health to raise awareness of the charity's tremendous work supplying, managing and maintaining motorcycles for health-focused operations in Africa. During 2022 Yamaha Motor Europe helped raise over €30,000 for the charity, with Botturi and Tarrés taking their race bikes to visit Riders for Health in The Gambia after the Africa Eco Race to see for themselves the fantastic work they do first-hand.

Due to a conflict with the second round of the Italian national rally championship, the Campionato Italiano Motorally, Botturi will be replaced at the Morocco Desert Challenge by former Yamaha Dakar rider and off-road racing legend Rodney Fagotter. It will be the Australian’s first Rally Raid event on the Ténéré 700 World Raid, and he is looking forward to reuniting with his former Yamaha Dakar team manager Bourgeois ahead of racing in his first competitive rally since 2020.

The Ténéré World Raid Team begin their season at the Morocco Desert Challenge, which starts in Agadir on the 23rd of April with the Prologue and traverses over 2,000 km across eight stages before finishing in Merzouga on the 30th.

Click here to learn more about the Ténéré Spirit Experience and how you can get involved.  

Alessandro Botturi

Ténéré World Raid Team

“It is great to return for a second year with the team, especially after such a successful start to the project in 2022. I worked behind the scenes with Yamaha for a year to help develop the Ténéré 700 World Raid bike, but no testing can compare to competing in a rally. Therefore, to win our first event at the Tunisia Desert Challenge was incredible, and even though I had some really bad luck in the Africa Eco Race, we still secured a 1-2 in class. To build on this success, we have a new team for 2023 with lots of experience, and I look forward to working alongside Marc. It will also be amazing to experience this season with the Ténéré Spirit Experience customers, and I can’t wait to share my passion for rally with them. Unfortunately, the Morocco Desert Challenge clashes with the second round of the Campionato Italiano Motorally, but I look forward to joining the team for the TransAnatolia in May.”

Pol Tarrés

Ténéré World Raid Team

“I am really excited about the new season. It is the second year for the team and my second season competing in Rally Raid. My first year was one of learning, but I showed my potential by winning my class and finishing fifth overall at the Africa Eco Race. The new team in 2023 brings a huge amount of knowledge of racing at the top level, and although I am still learning, I am excited about the potential of what we can achieve.  I think the Ténéré Spirit Experience is an amazing idea because the customers will not only get to ride parts of the stages that we race, but also they will live alongside us in the bivouac, eating, sleeping, doing everything with the team, which is an experience of a lifetime.”

Rodney Fagotter

Ténéré World Raid Team

“It has been a few years since my last international rally, which was the Dakar in 2020, so I was delighted to get the call from Marc to take part in the Morocco Desert Challenge. I had a great relationship with him in the Yamaha Dakar team, and I cannot wait to participate in my first rally on the Ténéré 700 World Raid and show what it is capable of. It will be challenging, as I will have to learn and adapt to the bike quickly, but hopefully, my experience will help, and I will try and achieve the best result possible. Honestly, the idea of the Ténéré Spirit Experience is incredible. To be able to travel, live and ride alongside a top team is something most people can only dream of, so I am looking forward to meeting the participants in sharing the Rally Raid lifestyle with them.”

Marc Bourgeois

Ténéré World Raid Team – Team Manager

“I am thrilled about this new project. I have worked with Yamaha for most of my career, first as a rider and then as team manager in Enduro and at the Dakar, so I am delighted to take this next step with the Ténéré World Raid Team. Alessandro and Pol had a great first season, and we want to expand and build upon that in 2023. The Ténéré 700 World Raid is an incredible machine. To be able to race in these events on a twin-cylinder production bike shows just what it is capable of. One of the most exciting things about this new project is the Ténéré Spirit Experience. It will be extraordinary to share with our customers what it is like to race in a Rally Raid event. They will ride selected parts of the actual stages while enjoying an easier route that runs alongside the main rally. Plus, they will eat, sleep and live alongside Alessandro, Pol, and the whole team to create a truly amazing one-off experience. Plus, in Morocco, they will have the chance to ride and exchange stories with Stéphane, which is a dream for any rally fan. Alessandro can’t be at the first race due to a schedule clash with the Italian national championship, so we welcome Rodney to the team for the Morocco Desert Challenge. It has been a while since he last competed, and he has not had a chance to test the bike, but having worked with him in the past, I am confident that his experience and ability will mean he can get up to speed quickly.”