Yamaha are really going to try to score better in the 2007 Dakar race. After a success with their Yamaha Dakar Challenge last year, they are repeating the program on a larger scale.
The Dakar 2007 will start, like last year, from Lisbon. Except it will not start in the traditional 1st of January, but on the 6th. Yamaha have put in place an extensive assistance program for Yamaha motorcycle riders, much the way KTM have. The idea is to entice riders to use a Yamaha motorcycle. It's a numbers game, the more Yamaha motorcycles there are in the race, the bigger the chance that some will score points. And to entice riders, Yamaha have put together a comprehensive support package.
Yamaha are using three trucks,three 4x4 cars and 20 support staff (mechanics, cooks, etc) to follow the race and support the Yamaha racers. But what's the most important, Yamaha provided the motorcycle.
The motorcycle (Yamaha WR450F 06) is fully equipped and ready to race. All you have to do is show up, Yamaha have taken care of the rest. They'll even provide your clothing (just bring underwear).
During the race, there will always be staff available to help you. When you arrive at the bivouac, your tent will be ready. Eat at the Yamaha tent and go to sleep. Or, you can go on-line to send your email, phone your spouse and do interviews, all in the Yamaha media tent.
Yamaha will have put their media machine to your use. They'll be spreading your profile, photos, etc to the media. Your sponsors will love you; you'll be getting more exposure than what you can do yourself.
Obviously running in the Dakar is not cheap, but using this Yamaha service, it's cheaper than doing it on your own. The top of the line package costs €40,000, and that includes buying the Yamaha WR450F ready-to-race, plus all the facilities, including 2 race suits and several leisure clothes. If you don't want to buy the motorcycles, you can rent it, and it'll be a lot cheaper; €28,000 !
Yamaha also run their own competition in the Challenge, allowing you to win back the money you spent (between €40,000 and €10,000), depending on who wins the Yamaha Challenge (not the Dakar).
This looks like a really good deal. If you have always wanted to race in the Dakar, but can't get the €75,000 which it would take normally, and you want to race in an environment were you can concentrate on the race, not the logistics and support, this is the deal for you.