Still No Title Sponsor For Yamaha's MotoGP Team

The week of Ducati's MotoGP launch has seen a seemingly endless stream of press releases from the Italian factory announcing one sponsorship deal after another. In the past couple of weeks, there have been announcements from Italian clothing manufacturer Diesel, Taiwanese computer giant Acer, and an extension of their existing agreement with Shell. As predicted, the combined selling power of the Valentino Rossi and Ducati brands has proven irresistible to sponsors, and cash and material support is pouring into Ducati's MotoGP war chest.

The contrast with Yamaha is shocking, and rather worrying for the Japanese factory. While 2010 World Champion Jorge Lorenzo continues to rack up personal deals (switching from Dainese to Alpinestars leathers, and a new deal with energy drink company Rockstar), the fairings of Yamaha's MotoGP team remain stubbornly blank. The withdrawal of Italian car giant Fiat came as no surprise, given Valentino Rossi's close personal contact with Lapo Elkann, a sire of the Agnelli clan that founded the Italian company, though the fact that Fiat did not make the switch along with Rossi did surprise many in the paddock.

Finding a replacement is proving difficult, however. Despite fielding the world champion - and the promise of a #1 plate for the first time in many years - nobody has stepped forward to take Fiat's place. Speaking to Italian website, Yamaha's communications chief William Favero admitted that Yamaha have still not managed to sign a title sponsor, despite ongoing talks with a number of parties. As a result, Favero told that Yamaha will appear at the first MotoGP test of the year at Sepang with bikes painted either in Yamaha's corporate colors, or else with plain black carbon fiber fairings.

Favero did hint that they hoped to have something in place for the second test in Sepang, which is due to take place on February 22nd through 24th. The details would be announced at Yamaha's official presentation, likely to take place in Malaysia. Holding the team launch in South East Asia underlines the importance of the region to Yamaha, and hints at a sponsor coming from the area. Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis is known to have been in talks with AirAsia, the Malaysian-based budget airline serving the region, and AirAsia is already heavily involved in MotoGP, serving as title sponsor to the British Grand Prix at Silverstone last year, and sponsoring a 125cc team in 2010.

Speaking at the Ducati launch, Dorna CEO Carmelo Ezpeleta also let slip that he expected Yamaha to have a title sponsor for the 2011 season, and given Dorna's penchant for pressuring series sponsors into taking on the title sponsorship of teams, it would seem reasonable to suggest that Dorna could help persuade AirAsia to take on the title sponsorship of Yamaha's MotoGP team. With Jorge Lorenzo spending the next few weeks in South East Asia on a promotional tour, that idea does not seem very far fetched at all.

Back to top


No sponsors for a world champ? Incredible. You could tell this whole season Lorenzo was really trying to show some personality with all the celebrating but I guess money is still tight. Ben Spies (as awesome as he is) doesn't really have spokesman potential. Kinda a shame these guys can't just be riders. But such is the way of the world. You gotta be able to sell these things and I guess most these companies don't think they can do it, or they just don't have the money.
Any one see Lorenzo's twitter pic in the Rockstar getup? I felt bad cause I couldn't stop laughing.

Monster remains Tech3 title sponsor for 2011, and they announced a new additional sponsor (can't remember who though) a few months ago.
Crutchlow arrival next season doesn't hurt the Monster sponsorship neither, since it's been his personal sponsor for a while.

This is a sad state of affairs. Yamaha deserve better. I think Jorge's post race antics outdoing Rossi brought a frown rather than a flood of money to Yamaha.
Lorenzo can win another 5 titles,but will never be as popular as Rossi.
Seems to be the case with Ben and Nicky aswell. Ben's achievements in the recent past outshine Nicky's by some margin,but Nicky stays as popular as ever.
George and Ben will do themselves and Yamaha a world of good by getting off to early season flyers,thus forcing sponsors to get on the bandwagon.'Everyone loves a winner'.
On the other other hand,the Ducati colour jobs have already ensured that the camera's will focus much on them,no matter where they are running.
This is what sponsors are after. Maximum exposure/dollar spent.
The boring old scorecard is of lesser relevance in the greater scheme of marketing a product or brand.

I think Lorenzo's antics looked far too fake at least half of the time. It made me cringe to watch a few times. Nicky is a likable guy, that is why Ducati love him. He sells bikes even when he isn't winning. Ben is a great racer but just doesn't give the media the same level of interaction that Nick delivers. I think if he ever wins a title he will loosen up a bit, if not, it will be many years before he becomes more like Colin.

All I can say is wow. World Champion on a Yamaha. Personal sponsors but no new ones coming in to the team. Wow. This seems late to not have any major sponsors stepping up. I would think there would be some Spanish Sponsors stepping up. This just proves that Jorge will not ever be as popular as Valentino no matter how much he imitates the way VR used to celebrate. Too fake, hollow. Hell of a racer, but needs to go ahead and play the villain, that role seems to suit him better. No matter what VR does, the majority of fans just seem to refuse to look at Rossi as the villain, or do not care. Neither do sponsors.

Ben just needs to establish himself as a race winner and I bet some American Companies put some money behind him. But right now, he is still not established to the rest of the world.

A rookie claiming the WSBK championship isnt establishing himself to the rest of the world?

I think the problem is that no sponsor wants to viewed as a copycat. Whether Lorenzo's antics are genuine or an attempt to 1 up Rossi, the come off as very similar and a copy. Rossi's come off as genuine and as part of his personality. Lorenzo's come off as spiteful and mean spirited. I mean we all know that he and Rossi had problems with each other last year. And then Lorenzo is doing the same kind of victory celebrations that Rossi used to do? While on Rossi's team? Seems petty, forced and mean spirited to me. Like look at me, Im better than Rossi!!!! Look at me please!!! Ill do better look look look!!!!!

Why sponsor the copy when you can sponsor the original?

Oh, I am not meaning he has not established himself as something special. To me Ben Spies is the person I root for the most. Being an American, and from TEXAS! That man is going to cause a problem for some people in the future. He WILL win. Win a championship, that is still up for debate. But until he starts winning or challenging for the win on the regular, he will not be as marketable as any of the top 4. Right now from everything I read in Europe and other parts, people respect him, but respect does not turn into marketability overnight. Too many of the young Americans are seen as a disappointments. The last American that was an outright winner in Motogp was Kenny Roberts jr. After that John Hopkins, Nicky Hayden, (who did win a Championship, but still does not get high levels of respect he deserves, but did get more marketability after winning the Championship), and Colin Edwards (Two World Superbike Championships, 0 wins in Motogp). Ben has alot of expectation on him. And people are waiting to see if he lives up to it. Once he proves he does. BAM!

This shows that jorge is not as big as everybody had portray him when he become a WC. Obviously the economy is a mess but how come not a single one have step up and claim to be one. even a small sponsor i haven't heard anything..

Can we get off the bandwagon that's jumping all over Lorenzo. Those with a decent knowledge of motogp will remember that Yamaha struggled to find a title sponsor to replace camel in 2007, with Fiat sponsorship only announced in March, just before the opening Qatar GP

Hopefully your display of reason won't fall on blind eyes (nearly typed deaf ears :D )

I'll be rooting for Yamaha this year but this is kind of worrying. Like F1, MotoGP seems to be going the way of marketability rather than talent. Quite sad really with Yamaha probably having the best rider lineup on the grid this year.

I'm thinking Honda Repsol for the best line up, I'm not that sure that Spies would beat Pedrosa next season, bring it on!

I take your point that MotoGP marketing is of ever increasing importance. However, to say that they are choosing "marketability over talent" is, well, not based in fact and more on hyperbole.

Jorge = talent
Ben = talent
Stoner = talent
Pod = talent
Rossi = talent

It's not like some scab racer/huge marketing persona is supplanting a true racer from a ride... on any team, let along the top teams.

Lorenzo is a wannabe world champion. Very talented but his personality is like that stuff that pigeons leave all over statues. His biggest problem is that he wants to be like Rossi but nothing he can ever do (no matter how many races he wins or how hard he tries to imitate the VR celebrations) will let him accomplish’s just not there. A character like Valentino comes along very rarely and is impossible to recreate, especially when it is being done because of jealously.

Yamaha’s problems attracting sponsors could be, in part, because of Lorenzo…his phony act just does not come across as professional. Rossi on the other hand, in 2007, reached into his personal bag of tricks (probably a simple phone call) and single-handedly put FIAT all over the Yamaha motoGP scene...very professional!!! This was done after all of the Yamaha brass (and Dorna) couldn’t do anything about finding a title sponsor. They were very lucky to have Valentino…now let’s see Lorenzo do something like that.

Please, Lorenzo is still just a young man. Comparing the personality and ability to work with and please people of a 23-year-old to a 31-year-old, then you're *bound* to find the younger to be lacking in areas (even if they have more natural charm). When Rossi was young and up&coming perhaps he was lucky that the previous class-dominating champ had been quite boring, or many might have viewed his antics differently. Lorenzo will develop further. Till then he's going to continue to provide us with awesome racing on a regular basis. Which is, you know, what us motorbike racing fans are surely really interested in, right? If you'd prefer a personality contest over racing, then maybe you shouldn't be here.

If you're going to write a comment knocking someone for fairly trivial and subjective reasons, who has demonstrated world-class talent, and takes risks using that talent to help entertain you, then perhaps it's worth taking a few seconds to re-consider whether it's worth pressing that "post" button. Regardless of which rider.

He IS a world champion who won it with more points than any other rider in history.

What is wannabe about that?

How many title's have you got under you belt? WC's? Nationals? State? Club? ....... any mail addressing you as "Mr world Champ of driving to the shops and back?"

Jorge earned it. Nicky Earned it. Stoner earned it. Rossi earned it. Doohan earned it. Etc etc............

Is this going to be the 99 supporter/46 detractor's new argument? That Lorenzo did it with the most points ever? He also did it with the most RACES ever as well. In fact, he has the EXACT same record as Rossi has in 2003. 9 wins, 5 seconds, and 2 thirds. Except for the fact that Lorenzo has 2 more opportunities to score points and he did.

So I expect him to score more points. There are more points to be scored.

Why can't the Gas/fuel companies step up? Sponsorship would be an absolute drop in the bucket for them, in fact, why can't BP be the title sponsor for Yamaha? Get some Green & Yellow bikes going, and help to reestablish their terrible image across the world. I know Shell puts some money toward Ducati, but come on, you got BP, Conoco, Exxon-Mobil, Chevron, etc. There are plenty of Russian companies.

I think the main problem is that people don't go out and buy more petrol just because they saw a petrol sponsord motogp bike on tv. The same was true for tobacco, but the difference is that cigarettes are sold in shops so you can choose at the spot to take a different brand. Petrol stations on the other hand tend not to be near each other, so choosing for a different brand ussualy means driving more km for basicly the same product.

That said there are a number of petrol company's active in Motogp, as you said your self Ducati is sponsord by Shell, Honda is sponsord by Repsol and Yamaha itself is sponsord by Petronas (which was rumored to become the title sponsor).

I still wonder what is wrong with Yamaha in the sponsoring departement, in 2007 they only got a sponsor at the lost possible moment (remember they had blue/white bikes at the Jerez test) and this year they where linked to Petronas, Movistar and AirAsia and despite being worldchampion (by pure domination) they still have nothing confirmed. Are they just demanding to much money or is there PR-department rubbish?

Yeah, great image it would be for a Gazprom sponsored Yamaha team. What thugs.
Za zdorov'e!

I understand the comments about Lorenzo not being as likable as Rossi, but then again, nobody in MotoGP is as popular as VR46. However Lorenzo is without argument the World Champion and he is the best rider in the World. That's the point of running a championship, to find out who is the best of the best.

OK, of course talking about the best rider of the world is controversial so lets put the statement on a safer level: Yamaha has the best rider from Spain, the best rider from the US, the current MotoGP Champion, the former WSBK Champion, and the most successful bike in the 800cc era.
¿How on earth they are unable to attract possible sponsors? The US, Spain and Japan are huge markets, and despite the first two have weak economies at the moment, there are plenty large corporations with marketing and exposure needs. In my view someone at Yamaha is not doing his job, perhaps they were used to get them very easy with Valentino onboard.

If Santander was able to sponsor Ferrari, with Alonso onboard (who is not charismatic at all), some other big sponsor could step in and support Jorge. The same should be done with elbowz.

Telefonica, BBVA, Indetex, Mapfre from Spain, GE, Exxon, AT&T, Coca Cola. I mean there are many.

I wonder how much these sponsors are deterred from the sport due Dorna being such a control freak about everything.

What's happened to Movistar? Where are they when we need them?? Heck, Yamaha now have a Spanish Champion which is (apparently) even more high-profile/desirable than an Italian one. Surely there're more Spanish companies than just Repsol who want a decent billboard that'll be seen by almost every citizen of Spain? Last time the Spanish had a blue-riband class champ (Criville) they put a statue up to him! I'm a huge fan of Lorenzo's talent, but equally a huge disliker of his arrogance. He's the real deal on a bike for sure, but someone only a Spaniard could like.

Movistar got burned when Dani moved up to the premier class.
After supporting him through 125 & 250s (with 3 championships), there was no room for them in the repsol squad (there was briefly talk of shared repsol / movistar branding, but neither company really liked that).
It also coincided with the rise of Fernando Alonso, so movistar took their money elsewhere.

-I think Jorge comes across goofy and IMO think his celebrations are to contrived. I could be wrong but to me it seems to counter his personality.That being said I dont know the guy to really judge him. I think its stoopid to even guess without knowing the guy!

-Comparing Spies, Rossi, Jorge are different creatures.
Spies comes across as persona americana and he is a beast. Us americans love it. Plus he is the real deal or has shown himself to be.

-Rossi enuff said.

I like Rossi, and Spies, Hayden, CEII, Gobert, Mladin, Biaggi,(yes I liked him lol) and many others because they had true individual character. Then personalities to match.

I dont know what to make of Jorge. I see lots of passion and god like focus. All the other stuff isnt there.. and if so its contrived as said before.

Apparently I could be right especially if sponsors are the barometer it all.

Agreed with all your points more than anyone else's. Spies is slowly warming up to being a spotlit media personae. His periodic interviews on are brilliant and more revealing than any other racer is giving, so in spite of him not being a theatre-company reject like JLo, I think he'll do very well for Yamaha eventually, once they figure out what his true value is. Everyone loves a true fighter and Spies is definitely a fighter, to the core!

There must be so many other elements to why Yamaha hasn't been able to secure a major sponsor that us benchracers can only guess at. It is a business after all. As a Canadian I can't understand why the world watches soccer (internationally) or football (US) instead of hockey. To me, its a no-brainer as hockey is the most exciting team sport in the world, but it can't be sold in the US whereas stick-and-ball sports or ball-and-commercial-break sports are an easy sell and attract millions of dollars in sponsorship and advertising. Looking at it that way, there's obviously something that Yamaha isn't articulating about their team, their riders, and the sport of MotoGP that potential sponsors are understanding or seeing value in.

And in spite of all the ridicule that JLo's post-race theatrics get, we TV viewers and North American-confined fans rarely if ever see them, so we really aren't in a position to comment on what they really say about the man. Maybe in Europe with its wider media coverage they mean something, but to me, they're irrelevant.

Agreed on Spiesus' interviews. I think it will get better now that he is on the factory squad.

More than Lorenzo's antics I think it is because of too much of movement around him (Rossi to Ducati, Stoner to Honda) that companies don't see Lorenzo (or speez for that matter) as a sure shot dominator as he was in 2010...

It's not the steak that's for sale; it's the sizzle! JL99 is the current world champion but as far as selling/merchandising/marketing he can't touch VR46 and that is what sponsors are looking for. Rossi is genuine -he's the real deal. He is dynamic, exciting and is a major attraction to fans. Jorge is a nice guy and fabulous rider but he's much too contrived and comes across as being faux. Yamaha will find a sponsor eventually because they have the #1 plate but it will be the bike that will attract a major sponsor and not Jorge. I actually think JL99 would be better off just being himself and not someone he isn't. He tries to hard to be like Rossi. If you've seen the recent pictures from the Rockstar shoot, Jorge looks ridiculous trying to pull off the gangstah look. That's not who he is. I like JL99 but if I were a business I'd put my money behind Val Rossi too. Sex sells and some guys got it and some guys don't.

Jorge tweeted today about waking up in Indonesia so I wouldn't be surprised if the title sponsor is Indonesia Yamaha or Air Asia. I seem to remember getting a facebook update from Air Asia that suggested as much not so long ago.............

Petronas has long been a sponsor of Yamaha so maybe they have some more dollars to throw in?

It's been so long scince Yamaha carried it on the GP bike,perhaps they are just not prepared to sell it cheaply. Personally,I like George and always saw his antics as 'deliberate 1 upmanship'. Brilliant competitor he certainly is.
I would love to see him this year drop the showboating and act the focused racer he comes across as in the post race press conferences in front of the camera.As another poster said earlier,the 'villain' image will gain him much more support. Just maybe he will start working that angle. Judging by the sneaky cell phone shot of him in Yamaha blue A-Stars leather's,who knows ? Rossi's colours are,well,so Rossi. George's look,well, strictly business and great to see.
Back to sponsorship, I'm not worried about it and apparently nor are Yamaha.
They've got the riders,the kit and they know it.
Right now,I guess the're playing 'hardball' with potential title sponsors just like Lorenzo did with Yamaha before re signing for them back in 2009.
No accident that the timing of this promo tour pre-empts the run in to Sepang 1.

For destroying F1 and MotoGP's audience in the US. No one wants to dedicate the time to learn about the riders in MotoGP which I believe due to the low number of competitors at this level make it extremely appealing. Everyone already has their favorite Nascar driver jacket and would rather take a 3 min break during commercials to make another bowl of nachos.

Things that annoy me about speed tv:

the announcers know very little about the riders.
they go to commercials. frequently.
they don't show the ever so important interviews.
they don't show race changing events that occured during the commercials!

I'm really hoping Ben and Nicky can step up the US marketing this year because it really is an amazing sport. The perfect blend of athleticism, intelligence, and machine.

I might be way off but from what I have read (and I have been using this site for about 7 or 8 months), for the most part folks on this site don't watch SpeedTV too much or at all. You will find many of the people contributing don't live in the US and many of us who do prefer to pay for the viewing membership. I haven't ever watched a GP on Speed that I didn't also watch online. I tried watching it on Speed about 3 or 4 times and its just not good enough. Not even close really. Eventually I got rid of my cable because the prices kept creeping.

So from that respect, NASCAR hasn't hurt too much. I find that people who like NASCAR are usually most interested in the many collisions involved. So maybe those people will take an interest in Moto2 which may eventually lead them to MotoGP. NASCAR fans are used to 30+ events a year with racing most every weekend. Some people don't like GP, WSBK, and AMASBK because of the long seasons for the relatively few number of events. You can't just wait for the weekend to watch, you have to plan and pay attention to when the races are. Sadly, too complicated for many Americans.

"Things that annoy me about speed tv:

the announcers know very little about the riders.
they go to commercials. frequently.
they don't show the ever so important interviews.
they don't show race changing events that occured during the commercials!"

Have you ever watched a race on Speed TV or are you just taking other people's word for it?

The announcers are from the world feed except at the US races. So blame Dorna, or who ever has the contract with them on the world feed. Its not Speed's fault. If you are talking about the prerace stuff with Greg White, Ive heard the complaints and they are invalid. One person was complaining about the way Greg pronounces Lorenzo's name. He pronounces it "Lorenthso." Which is the correct and proper way to pronounce the name in Castilian Spanish. Anyone who pronounces it with a "Z" sound at the end is incorrect. They have also added the interviews you are wanting to see to their prerace coverage. As for the commercials, they have to pay the bills some how. 8 minutes of every half hour is dedicated to commercials. Double it for hour long shows. They dont go to commercial any more or less than any other tv show. And they do show race changing events during the commercial break. Its the bonus of being on a couple hour delay. Greg usually intros the replay when they get back.

Your complaints would be valid if this was 2006 or 07. But Speed has done a great job in taking a proactive approach to MotoGP and has actually listened to what people want from them. Is it .com coverage? No. But not everyone is so into it that they need to see every little detail. Speed's coverage is perfect for people like myself who will make up the majority of your race fans.

You also have to remember that they may not have the rights to broadcast some of the things you are looking for. Its not as simple as going to Dorna and saying oh hey Ill broadcast your races for you. Give me whatever I want and Ill put it on the air.

You've made the point that the SPEED coverage is better than nothing. But that's about it.

The important thing to note is how people know that it's better than nothing. They've had the opportunity to see it done well. And that opportunity costs money. If people don't like speed they have the option to pay for the live feed. It's just a shame that SPEED has the opportunity to show it live with the world-feed announcers but for all their wisdom they choose not too.

Its fine for people who just want to watch the race. Most of us dont care about the intricate workings behind the scenes.

One of the reason's F1 isnt popular in the US is because its too damn complicated to follow. You have to be up on every little nugget of information. Why is Ferrari using a cam with 1 extra degree on the exhaust port cam? What does this do for them? Reality check. Most people dont care. They want to watch an exciting race and F1 just isnt exciting. Its boring. The F1 race that draws the most viewers and attention is Monaco because of its historic venue.

I still stand by the fact that they may NOT be able to run anything other than the race itself and a few choice bits. Dorna may very well realize that they can make more money with the .com feed in the US because of the "poor" coverage on Speed. And the rights that Speed pays to broadcast the races. Dorna makes double income. From Speed and the .com site. How is this Speed's fault? They have stepped up the game in recent years and it is evident by the fact that when Ian Wheeler does an interview in the pits, he is wearing a Speed TV shirt and holding a Speed TV mic. That is a huge step in the right direction.

A friend of mine works in TV and I asked him about this. He said that racing is huge money maker for the governing bodies like Dorna because they can control everything that gets out. Everything that can be broken apart and charged separate for, is broken apart and charged a fee for. The race is one fee, interviews another, after race interviews, and it goes on. There is even the possibility that each individual interviewer is a separate fee. I dont know what Speed's contract is, how it is setup or what broadcast rights they have, but its a very real possibility that they dont have the rights to everything that the .com site does.

As for the times, I like it being run later in the day. This is a worldwide race series. its not like NASCAR where at most they have a 3 hour time difference going West coast to East coast. There can be 12+ hour differences here. I like having the races in the afternoon on a Sunday. I can avoid the internet for that day and have the race to watch after dinner on Sunday after riding. It also attracts people who are channel surfing at that time and click over. You are going to get more channel surfers at 4 or 5 in the afternoon than at 2am. DVR is a wonderful thing, but it doesnt bring in the advertisers. Speed has to charge less for the live early morning am races because less people are going to be watching it at that moment and those DVRing the show will just fast forward over the commercials. I know Im guilty of that. And since its ad revenue that is paying for the channel...

NASCAR, F1 and/or SpeedTV aren't totally to blame for poor coverage of motorcycle racing. Here are a few of the reasons I believe contribute...

- Unlike Asia, Europe and other locations on earth, most people in America didn't grow up around motorcycles. It's difficult for them to identify with the talents and bravery of MotoGP or Superbike racers.

- Unfortunately, due to the crap Hollywood puts out about motorcycles many Americans are negative about motorcycles and motorcycle people.

- Because of the relatively large distances traveled by Americans on motorcycles, they usually buy larger/heavier and more (so called) road worthy machines which mean most Americans can't identify with nimble and powerfull road race bikes. Many Americans think they race Japanese bikes because Harleys are to expensive (I'm not kidding).

- If you were to poll most Americans they would say they have a low opinion of motorcycles and motorcycle people.

Because of the recent increase in popularity of cheap Chinese scooters with our youth this is slowly changing but we are still many years away from MotoGP and Superbike racing challenging car racing for prime TV coverage.

Finally, rather than complaining about the coverage on SpeedTV, I'm thankful they are covering it at all, and generally in a positive manner. Sure, I would like to see MUCH more coverage too. But they are making progress and I hope they continue to improve on it going forward.

Open up the motorcycle section of a local craigslist and read a few dozen ads and one would get the impression that motorcyclists are illiterate, ignorant or at best crass. It's just sad. I'm just saying that this reputation may not be completely undeserved, as a generalization.

On top of several reasons you point out for lower 2-wheel market size, I believe a significant factor is the general size of automobiles that we share the road with in even densely populated areas. If the rest of the world had to roll the dice with as many giant pickup trucks and SUVs they'd ride a lot less too.

...that with Furusawa gone, there is the possibility that the incoming "boss/director/insert title here" might not place the same level of importance on Yamaha's Moto GP effort, resulting in lower funding and a similar downturn in their teams' fortunes.

I'd say that the possibility of that happening becomes something much more like a PROBABILITY if, in this time of record losses for Yamaha, nobody steps up to help foot the bill for their most expensive advertising/marketing campaign (known to the public as "Team Yamaha Moto GP")...

Guys and gals, we have a once-in-a-lifetime chance on our hands!

David has been dishing the good stuff to us for a long time, so NOW is our chance to repay him. Everybody who is a regular reader, send in 5 bucks/euros/pounds. We should be able to raise at least a thousand bucks/euros/pounds, and for that amount, MOTOMATTERS could be the TITLE SPONSOR FOR TEAM YAMAHA!

Just TRY and tell me that that's not the best idea you've heard in a LONG time...

Think that could bring in some more traffic, along with higher rates for ad space, David?

The MotoGP has not been properly promoting itself but is busy to increase the value of just one rider,Rossi. No one dares to say anything critical about him. If the world champ team cannot find a title sponsor, it is the proof that Rossi is indeed bigger than a sport itself. What will happen when he finally retires. Everyone loses. No sponsors, no TV, less venues. What a hype about this guy? He is a multiple world champ, but so is Michal Schumacher.

I have a feeling that he knows what he's doing and will get a fair price for his fairing real estate. The loss of Rossi is certainly significant. But I don't think having Lorenzo as the world championship is all that much of a liability for Jarvis' negotiations.

What's the price for title sponsor on one of these teams? How much did FIAT pay to Yamaha, Repsol to Honda or Marlboro to Ducati? It's gotta be a large chunk of cash and how much exposure do you get outside the European fan-base? US viewers are a tiny number in the grand scheme of things so unless you market so-called "energy" drinks (and they're not the title sponsors in most cases) who is going to spend all that dough? Pro cycling teams cost Movistar (who just picked up the best Spanish cycling team) around $10 million. For that they get 3 weeks of worldwide coverage from the Tour de France, 3 more from the Tour of Italy and more from the Tour of Spain and all the other stage and single-day races shown on TV worldwide. While MOTOGP seems to be on a huge upswing overall, I think unless you sell something to the European fan-base it's not a value proposition to multi-national corporations. I hope I'm wrong and the second I click on "submit" an announcement is made for a big-time title sponsor for Yamaha. I want to see a competitive racing season with everyone having a chance to climb on the box on any given raceday!

I dont think any of this Lorenzo v Rossi more personality talk has any relevance to Yamahas sponsorship woes. It true Rossi and Edwards have the more engaging personalities in the paddock, compared to Spies or Pedrosa. But these racers are not doing PR events for the sponsors. They are putting the company logo on the podium in front of the camera. And regarding Lorenzo, go back to his 250 days, his celebrations were notorious. I feel his antics in 250 far outshined his MotoGP shenanigans. Except maybe that jumping in the lake thing...

I wrote at length about MotoGP sponsorship here: