It remains to be seen whether the two double race winners can retain their hold on the race under the new rules. Holder Coma and his arch-rival Despres have amply proved that they are peerless in terms of physical condition, riding skills and navigation. They will again be the leading favourites at the start in Buenos Aires. But the new deal will probably boost the ambitions of their rivals.Among them, David Fretigne will be closely watched after his third place last year on a 450cc motorcycle. This time around, he will fight on equal terms. The test will be one of mental strength and experience as well for the Yamaha rider. Apart from Yamaha and Honda, several constructors have already launched serious programs to develop 450cc motorcycles with the Dakar in mind. Italy’s Aprilia signed Francisco "Chaleco" Lopez, who is intent on taking his new colours to the very top. Chile’s Lopez will be on home ground in the Atacama desert. As for Frans Verhoeven, winner of two stages in 2009, he managed to convince BMW to return with a 450 cc. French team Sherco, who made a name for themselves on the enduro circuit, are eager to conquer the world of rally raid. They will count on David Casteu, 2nd in 2007 and 4th last year.