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Cyril Despres Moves to Peugeot Rally Team

Wednesday, March 26, 2014
Yamaha’s Cyril Despres will not be returning for another crack at the Dakar, at least not in the motorcycle class. The five-time Dakar winner has switched to the four-wheeled ranks, and will compete with the newly formed Peugeot Sport rally-raid project.

“Peugeot Sport offered me a place as a driver on their new rally-raid project. Such an opportunity only comes once in a career,” said Despres. “However, because I made a commitment with Yamaha and Eric de Seynes, I will make sure I continue to share my knowledge and experience with the young Yamaha rally-raid riders. Peugeot have allowed me the possibility to train on a motorcycle and to take part in two or three races per year with a Yamaha enduro bike.”

“We can but respect the interest that a large car manufacturer like Peugeot takes in a motorcycle rider like Cyril Despres,” said De Seynes, Operational Director of Yamaha Motor Europe. “For sure, we had some shared ambitions with Cyril, who is a great competitor, so this opportunity of his means we will have to adapt our plans moving forward. But we have a strong rally team, a very competitive motorcycle, professional assistance and we will have competitive riders with the objective for victory in 2014/15. Cyril will remain in the world of motorcycles as a motorcycle ambassador of Yamaha, and will bring us his support as we continue to challenge for off-road glory with our rally-raid development program.”

Despres switched to Yamaha for the 2014 Dakar after a successful run with the KTM factory team – where he was a perennial favorite along with his Spanish rival and fellow KTM rider Marc Coma. The French rider was once again a favorite in 2014, but a few incidents and penalties set Despres back. Despite these difficulties he still managed to finish fourth. Despres is second on the all-time Darkar Rally win list behind countryman Stephane Peterhansel. A former Yamaha rider himself, Peterhansel successfully transitioned from two- to four-wheeled rally success with five Dakar car victories.

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