Finishing in 4th place, it turns out that Yamaha’s end to the 2022 Dakar Rally was disappointing in more than one way, as the Japanese brand has made it clear that this year’s edition of the iconic off-road race will be its last as a factory two-wheeled effort.
Announcing that it will cease its Dakar Rally and other rally-raid motorcycle racing programs in the FIM Cross-Country Rallies World Championship, Yamaha is effectively ending a 40-year involvement of racing motorcycles in the Dakar Rally.
While Yamaha will continue in the Dakar with its four-wheeled side-by-side offerings, the Yamaha Racing says that it will “shift to meeting evolving customer requirements in the off-road sector, considering the future introduction of the new Ténéré World Raid.”
Whether that means for a push for a production-based class in the Dakar, or other events that could cater to the popular ADV production bike, remains to be seen.
In its press release, Yamaha makes mention of its long success in the Dakar Rally, but success for the brand has been hard to come by in the recent year, and that has perhaps led to Yamaha’s decision to seek easier venues to showcase its bikes.
“Yamaha has a long and storied history with the Dakar Rally, starting in 1979 at the first ever edition and running unbroken into the modern era,” said Yamaha Motor Europe President and CEO, Eric de Seynes.
“It’s also an event that I personally have a real passion for, having twice contested the event and for many years worked closely with Jean-Claude Olivier, who not only raced and won stages at the Dakar but also oversaw Yamaha’s most successful pioneer period in the rally.”
“However, 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 World Championship, while simultaneously strengthening our commitment to racing the Dakar on four wheels with the Yamaha YXZ1000R SSV.”
“However Yamaha’s commitment to Rally Raid events with motocycles 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.”
Source: Yamaha Racing