Rossi's Monster Millions Not Coming Out Of Hopper's Contract

The story we reported earlier, about Valentino Rossi obtaining Monster Energy sponsorship is better news than at first thought. The stories appearing in the Italian press all claimed that the money for Rossi's contract would be coming from the terminated contract of John Hopkins. But SpeedTV's Dennis Noyes is citing anonymous sources in Europe stating categorically that this is new money, and has nothing to do with Hopper's Monster Millions.

Of course, if there is one rider in the paddock who is swimming in personal sponsorship, it's Valentino Rossi, but nevertheless, more money coming into MotoGP is an important move. It is a sign that under the right conditions, there is enough money to invest in MotoGP, despite the general economic downturn.

Noyes also reports an interesting stumbling block: the biggest problem for Monster was Valentino Rossi's penchant for changing his helmet paint schemes. Monster needed guarantees that their green claw logo would remain clearly visible on the helmet, however The Doctor decided to paint it on any given week. With these guarantees now in place, the deal is ready to be announced this week.

Where this leaves John Hopkins is still a mystery. No news is forthcoming of where Hopkins might be racing in 2009, but his future in MotoGP is looking bleak. The BBC's Matt Roberts is reporting that if the Kawasakis are handed over to a private team, that team would be run by current Kawasaki team boss Michael Bartholemy and and Aspar boss Jorge Martinez. Martinez would supply a sponsor, and as a consequence, would get to run a Spanish rider - either Alex Debon, or according to some Spanish sources, Fonsi Nieto - alongside Marco Melandri, who is more saleable to Southern European sponsors. This would leave Hopper out of a Kawasaki ride, and most likely, out of MotoGP. Hopkins may get to hang on to his Monster Millions, but he wouldn't have anywhere to display them.


Back to top


One part of this I don't like is that Rossi has always had unique helmets that weren't dictated by sponsors. His AGV helmets by Drudi are trademark Rossi, and I hope the incorporation of the Monster logo doesn't screw with that the way that Red Bull sponsorship has Nicky or Dani or others -- for instance, Hopper never had a very good helmet design, just black with huge MONSTER logo on it. With Naturo Azzuro he only had to wear the visor cap, not design his helmet around the logo.

I guess I'd be happier to let the sponsorship money from Monster go to another, less well-paid rider, and let Rossi keep his own helmet designs.

Red Bull is still a far better drink; I don't like Monster, no matter who they sponsor. Rockstar isn't bad either, maybe they should get in MotoGP.

an unfortunate side effect of this is that there's going to be a 3 hideous green stripes going down the side of rossi's ubiquitous sun/moon drudi painted helmets. rossi's had this motif in one way or another ever since his days as rossifumi in the 125's. now his helmets are going to look like herman munster's fingers. i always thought that rossi was above this, and would never give in to commercializing his helmet space. he was the one rider who seemed to really enjoy personalizing his leathers and helmet.

Rossi has always had sponsorship on his helmet. For the past few years, he has worn the KeraKoll logo on the chin bar and the side of his visor. But it's done so discretely that nobody notices it (see picture below). Most likely, the deal will feature something similar for the Monster logo.

Valentino Rossi on the grid at the US GP at Laguna Seca, July 2008 

about the kera koll. i'm hoping that the monster advertising will be as discrete as you imply. thinking about it, it's makes sense- that's not rossi's style to have a huge logo dominate on the side of his helmet- but 2.5 million euros is a lot for subtle advertising. perhaps they'll make him wear a logo hat at the press conference- i could live with that :)

I'm sure this horse is well beaten by now, but from a marketing perspective, I would rather have a whole team running my colors than a little sticker on the side of a helmet.  Granted, it's the most viewed helmet every weekend it is seen, but Tech 3 are not as bad a team as Kawasaki was, so Edwards and Toseland would have been some good publicity for probably the same money... and support the home team!

There are unsubstantiated rumors that this is exactly what is going to happen: At the same time the Rossi deal is announced, they'll be announcing a Tech 3 deal. God knows they need the money. 

Looks like the Monster yamaha cashpop has fallen into Yamaha Italia's hands ...

So with Aspar out of the Kawasaki deal, hopper almost certainly not getting a 3rd satalite Yamaha, and Ilmor confirmed as interested in the Kwaks, looking most likely that we'll have Hoppper and Melandri on Monster Ilmor Kawasaki ZXRR's this year?