Yamaha has created a new Tenere World Raid Rally team with Pol Tarres and Alessandro Botturi replacing the Rally-Raid World Championship squad, which successfully claimed a Dakar podium in January, with a new production-based programme set to contest the Africa Eco Race this October.

When Yamaha announced they were pulling out of the Rally-Raid World Championship after finishing on the podium at the 2022 Dakar Rally, it caused some confusion and left riders Adrien Van Beveren and Andrew Short jobless.

Part of the aim, Yamaha said, was to concentrate their racing programme onto production motorcycles and this new World Raid Rally team does exactly that. Moving away from 450cc, WR-based machiens in teh FIM World Championship, Yamaha is using the hugely successful Yamaha Tenere 700 model to contest more 'adventure' races.

The bikes will be in the experienced and spectacular hands (respectively) of Alessandro Botturi and Pol Tarres, they will now race bikes which you can buy from official dealers in a bid to connect their racing programme better with customers.

The new team will contest the Africa Eco Race which runs from Monaco to the legendary finish in Dakar, Senegal from October 15 – 30. The established independent rally event races on the original soil of the historic Dakar and for Yamaha this is the new focus.

It confirms the new approach, reconnecting their rally racing programme with “the genuine spirit of adventure using motorcycles that customers can also enjoy” they say.

Yamaha add the new racing programme will support Tenere customers participating in national events up to international long distance Rally Raids including the Africa Eco Race.

The team race bike is a saucy one, built on the new production Tenere 700 World Raid model and featuring GYTR parts including a larger fuel tank and uprated KYB suspension:


Team built on enduro experience

The Yamaha Tenere World Raid Team will be run on behalf of Yamaha by Rebel X Sports under the direction of Team Manager, and experienced Rally Raid campaigner, Manuel Lucchese. Italian Alessandro Botturi, winner of the previous two editions of the Africa race is joined by Spaniard Pol Tarres on the Tenere 700 World Raid.

“I am very excited about this new adventure!” Says Tarres. “I feel fortunate to be involved in this project, to have such a fantastic team around me and such an experienced teammate in Alessandro. Everyone is excited to take on the Africa Eco Race, and the Yamaha Ténéré 700 World Raid is the perfect machine to tackle such a challenging rally.

“We have been working a lot on the bike already, and it feels incredible. I am excited to head to Tunisia because it will be a great shakedown and training to get us ready for the challenge of the main event this year. I have a lot to learn, but I am determined to do my best and push as hard as I can to bring home the best result possible.”

While the team and bike may be new, both riders have enjoyed impressive careers. Botturi comes into the 2022 Africa Eco Race having won the previous two editions in 2019 and 2020, while the 46-year-old Italian was also the International Six Day Trial champion in 2005 and 2007, competed in the World Enduro Championship and raced in numerous Dakar Rallies.

“In a few weeks, we begin this great adventure with the Yamaha Tenere World Raid Team.” Says Botturi. “I cannot wait to ride the new bike in Tunisia, and the goal is not only to finish the rally but to gain as much data and knowledge as possible to make us stronger. This is going to be an important year, with our ultimate goal of competing in the Africa Eco Race and reaching the mythical finish line by the Lac Rose in Dakar.”


The Yamaha Ténéré World Raid Team will prepare for the AER by taking part in the Tunisian Desert Challenge between the April 21-29, which comprises eight stages and covers over 2700km. It is the first important step in preparing the bikes and riders ready to take on the challenge of the Africa Eco Race later in the year.

Marketing and Motorsport Director of Yamaha Motor Europe, Paolo Pavesio say sit is a new adventure for Yamaha and a return to the spiritual home of the Tenere and to their Rally Raid roots.

“We believe that connecting with our customers is incredibly important, and with this new project and bike, we hope to inspire them to rediscover their more adventurous side. This is just the beginning of the journey; based on our experience this year we will grow the customer program ready for the 2023 season.

“We're also very happy to be teaming up with Riders for Health, using our participation in the rally to raise awareness of the incredible work they do in providing much needed medical support to rural communities in Africa using motorcycles as the primary form of transport. The presence of their logos on our bike and riders is just the first step in our collaboration.”

The new rally programme will also mark the start of a partnership with Riders for Health, a very special sponsor that Yamaha is proud to host on the Tenere World Raid Team to raise awareness of the tremendous work carried out by the charity supplying, managing and maintaining motorcycles for health-focused operations in Africa.


Photo Credit: Yamaha Racing