4th January is just 12 days away, the day the 2015 Dakar Rally gets flagged off from Buenos Aires. The next two weeks would involve riders tackling extreme endurance with over 8000 kms to cover. For such a situation, everything on the motorcycle has to be carefully thought of, implemented and rehearsed so that it can endure the harshness of what is to come ahead.
Such as been the preparation of the Yamaha Factory Racing Team Yamlube, who have spent the past few weeks sleepless to prepare their the machines for riders Oliver Pain, Michael Metge and Alassandro Botturi. The machines in question are the Yamaha WR450F Rally, an upgrade from the last years YZ450F – the machine on which Olivier Pain was able to place a third position.
For this year, the Yamahas have gone through a series of drastic changes. To start, the new bikes have relocated engines that are now rear-inclined giving the machine better mass centralisation. To add on, the updated WR450F also has an electric starter which would be very helpful to the riders while tackling the treacherous dunes.
But the most important change that has happened to the motorcycles for 2014 is the single-cell fuel tank that has been implemented to carry the massive 35 litres of fuel. Earlier this same amount was carried with the help of five different fuel tank that were placed at different positions on the WR’s frame. This resulted in a very complicated mechanism where the riders had to keep switching between the tanks as fuel used to get over. This year, a single-cell fuel tank made of carbon fibre has been incorporate under the rear subframe of the bikes that carries the entire payload of fuel that is required for the rally. This development helped the team to reduce substantial amounts of weight from the motorcycles, making them nimbler to handle.
With the new weight distribution, the team has also made changes to the suspension setup while settling in on a standard Kayaba front fork with modified front-end geometry, a modified rear-end linkage, a full factory rear shock absorber and a longer swing arm.
Also see: Red Bull KTMs Ready for 2015 Dakar Rally