Portuguese rider Helder Rodrigues will return to Yamaha for the 2016 Dakar Rally, after signing a deal that will take him away from Honda and back to the manufacturer he won the 2011 FIM Cross Country World Rallies Championship with.
A Yamaha rider for three years from the 2010 race onwards, he returns from Honda to help complete the development work started on their WR450F machine started by Dakar Rally legend Cyril Despres before his discipline switch to cars last year.
Rodrigues is scheduled to take part in a number of races this year in preparation for January’s South American rally, and says he’s delighted to have the chance to return to the French-based squad.
"I'm very happy to return to Yamaha. I enjoyed very great times together, in the Dakar and World Championships. We had many years working with good results. I'm very motivated to come back and give my contribution in further developing the WR450F Rally. It feels great to be back together."
Alexandre Kowalski, Yamaha Motor Europe Rally and Enduro Racing Manager, added: "We are really excited to have Helder back with us, As a seasoned rally competitor he brings with him a wealth of knowledge that will be invaluable in moving our rally program forward. It's also special to have a rider back with us who has already proved capable of taking Yamaha to stage and podium victories in the past."