The following is from Yamaha Motor Europe, regarding its Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally team effort in the 2018 Dakar Rally:
The Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team of Adrien Van Beveren, Xavier de Soultrait, Franco Caimi and Rodney Faggotter are all-set for the most demanding challenge on the annual rally calendar – the 2018 Dakar Rally held this year in Peru, Bolivia and Argentina. In what’s expected to be the toughest Dakar in recent years, the Yamaha Racing quartet will be proudly carrying a special Ténéré 700 World Raid livery on their WR450F Rally machines.
Under the guidance of team director Alexandre Kowalski, team manager José Leloir and highly-experienced sport manager Jordi Arcarons the quartet of Yamalube Yamaha riders head to South America looking to improve on last year’s highly positive performances. Their ultimate goal is to challenge for the podium and successfully complete the hugely demanding event.
Following a stellar performance in 2017, which saw him end his 2017 Dakar Rally adventure fourth and less than one-minute behind a potential podium result, Adrien Van Beveren is looking to finish even higher in 2018. Building his speed following injury early on during the 2017 season, the Frenchman is now at the top of his game and ready to do battle in South America.
“I’m super happy with the way things are at the moment,” Van Beveren said. “My training and preparation have been great, and to be honest I’ve never felt so strong. I did lots of moto riding during the last couple of months, together with an intense program of physical preparation. I won’t stop, and my training will go on until the moment I get on the plane to Peru. I’m happy I had no issues and remained 100-percent healthy. I’m also happy I got to spend lots of time training on the rally bike. As an athlete, I always want to take things step-by-step and this is exactly what I did in 2017. I got back from my injury even stronger mentally, and now I believe I am strong enough to win the Dakar. This might just be my third year, but if all goes well I know I have what it takes to bring home the win. At the same time, I really want to do even better this year. It is going to be a long and tough two weeks, with no easy stages to recover. The key is to remain consistent and keep pushing as much as I can.”
Making a strong statement throughout 2017 following his Merzouga Rally victory and top three result at the Desafio Ruta 40, Xavier de Soultrait has demonstrated he has what it takes to battle on equal terms with the rally elite. Completing more than 20,000 kilometers of racing during the 2017 season, the Frenchman will be a strong asset for the Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team at the upcoming Dakar.
“We’re heading to Peru in a month and I’m 100-percent ready for the challenge,” de Soultrait said. “I’ve had a good season of racing and also spent time training in Spain and Morocco. We did some long days of navigation training and lots of riding in deep sand. I’ve done more than 22,000 kilometers of rally racing and navigation training in 2017, and this has helped a lot. I feel that all is in the right place at the moment, and honestly it’s the first time in my career that I feel that way. The new bike is awesome, and within the team we have the right people to do each job. I want to give it 100 percent at the next Dakar. I am aiming for a strong start, and then I will try to keep the momentum going. I’ve had some great stage and race results during the season, so all the pieces of the puzzle are there for me to battle for the top next January.”
Demonstrating impressive speed in his first event aboard the WR450F Rally, team rookie Franco Caimi wrapped up the 2017 Merzouga Rally with an impressive third place overall result. Winning stages and continuing to improve during the season, the young Argentinean will be pushing for stage victories at the 2018 Dakar Rally while gaining further rally racing experience.
“I’m really looking forward to the Dakar,” Caimi said. “I was happy get my rally machine over in Argentina a bit more than a month ago, so I immediately started training on it. Spending time on the rally bike helped me improve my speed and also my technical knowledge on the bike. I managed to adapt even more, and now I am confident and happy to head to Peru in January. For me the special ingredient for the 2018 Dakar will be the sandy stages in Peru. Then there’s also the Marathon stage in Argentina, and this is also going to be a big challenge. Navigation will once again be key. I would be happy with a top five overall result, but obviously the final podium is the ultimate goal for me.”
The Yamalube Yamaha Official Rally Team is completed by Rodney Faggoter. Entering his second Dakar Rally aboard WR450F Rally machinery, the Australian is looking to make the most of his experience and mechanical aptitude to assist the team and get as close to the top five as possible.
“I can’t wait for the 2018 Dakar to begin,” Faggoter said. “Following my wrist injury at the Baja Inka, I gave my body some time to properly recover. The last couple of months everything has been coming together, and I’ve been focusing all my efforts into my training and preparation for South America. It’s been quite warm in Australia, and I think this will be an advantage for me in the dune stages of Peru. I’m expecting the first week to be really tough physically, and in terms of navigation. The quicker you get through the tough moments, the better it will be. Navigation will be paramount throughout the event, I believe. I want to have a good clean run and do my race. If it all goes well, I am confident of a top-10 overall result, and I know I could even do battle for the top five. I want to be there for my teammates when and if they need me and also make sure that I do my own race.”
Honoring the imminent return of one of the most successful motorcycles ever, the team’s four WR450F Rally machines will be proudly wearing the Ténéré 700 World Raid name and graphics throughout the 2018 Dakar Rally.
Yamaha Italy-supported Alessandro Botturi and highly experienced racer Camelia Liparoti will further strengthen the brand’s presence at the 2018 Dakar Rally. With Botturi entering his seventh Dakar Rally next January, Liparoti will make a debut appearance in the SSV class in Yamaha’s YXZ1000R side-by-side machine.
Including seven 100-percent off-piste stages and five stages at an altitude of more than 3000 meters, this 40th edition of the Dakar Rally is expected to be one of the most demanding in recent history. Kicking off in Lima, Peru on January 6, 2018, competitors will have to contest 4500 kilometers of timed special plus another 4500 kilometers of liaison sections on their way toward the finish line. The big finish of the 2018 Dakar Rally will take place in Córdoba, Argentina, on January 20.