Five-time Dakar Rally winner Cyril Despres has signed on with Yamaha Motor France to race on the Yamaha YZ450F.
Despres won the Dakar Rally in 2005, 2007, 2010, 2012 and 2013 with KTM but parted ways with the Austrian manufacturer in March. For 2014, Despres is trading in KTM Orange for Yamaha Blue, riding with support rider and fellow Frenchman Michael Metge.
“I am very motivated by the idea of joining Yamaha’s ‘men in blue’. I remember watching them on TV as a boy and dreaming,” says Despres. “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.”
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With five career Dakar Rally wins in the motorcycle class, Despres currently trails only Stephane Peterhansel who won six times on Yamaha motorcycles (Peterhansel also has an impressive five more wins competing in cars).
“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,” says Eric de Seynes, chief executive officer of Yamaha Motor France. “He gave us the desire to work with him because his straightforward manner and professional approach won us over. He is a new source of motivation for all our technicians and for the brand. Both his track record and his personality make him an appreciated public figure who brings an international impact that will benefit Yamaha’s entire global market.”