During the 2014 Dakar Rally, Yamaha Factory Racing Rally Team Yamalube had respectable results, including a third-place overall by the Frenchman Olivier Pain.
He was followed in fourth by former teammate Cyril Despres – a five-time Dakar Rally champion that switched to four wheels for 2015. For the 2015 Dakar Rally set once again for South America (Argentina, Bolivia and Chile), Pain is joined by Michael Metge and Alessandro Botturi.
The team has arrived in Buenos Aires – where 2015 Dakar will begin – and are set for Sunday’s opening day of racing.
The team released a statement Friday, offering comment from the riders and managers. For a preview of this year’s race, visit 2015 Dakar Rally Preview | By the Numbers.
Olivier Pain says “As always it’s a pleasure to be back in South America. This will be my seventh time here for the Dakar but I’m still surprised by the warmth of the people and the welcome they give to the competitors. At the moment we are in a hotel about 70 kilometers from the centre of Buenos Aires, the perfect place to relax, acclimatize and recover from the flight.
“But even here, away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the other hotel guests come up to us to wish us luck and politely ask for an autograph. We’ll stay here for a night. The whole team celebrated the New Year together and then it was be quickly off to bed. We’ll save the big celebrations for when we arrive back in the Argentinian capital on the 17th of January!”
Michael Metge says “We’ve been here a few days now and our preparations are going well. As the days pass the pressure mounts a little but I am confident in the capabilities of the new WR450 F Rally and in my own physical fitness and looking forward to the start of the race. Here’s hoping the New Year starts well for me and the team and we’ll have a fruitful 2015.”
Alessandro Botturi says “At the moment everything is very relaxed. The hotel we were staying at was perfect to get used to the change in temperature and do a little sport. This is my first time with all the team together and straight away I feel very comfortable. To me it seems like a big family, mechanics or riders, everybody is treated the same and I have been made very welcome. A very Happy New Year to you all.”
Alexandre Kowalski – Team Director – says “The whole team has had the chance to rest and recuperate, while finishing off our final preparations, and now we are looking forward to going through scrutineering today. The riders and team members have all worked hard to get ready for this race and are proud to represent the Yamaha brand on such a prestigious global event.”