Yamaha To Unveil Livery At Sepang - But No Sign Of A Sponsor Yet

Now that both Ducati and Honda have held the launches of their MotoGP bikes, attention turns to Yamaha. The factory Yamaha team, with 2010 World Champion Jorge Lorenzo and 2010 Rookie of the Year Ben Spies, are due to be presented officially to the press on Monday, February 21st, the day before the second test is to be held at Sepang. 

The big question, of course, is who Yamaha will unveil as their title sponsor. Fiat left Yamaha at the end of 2010, departing at the same time as Valentino Rossi, and rumors have been circulating since last summer about who will take Fiat's place. The two names linked most often to Yamaha's MotoGP team were Malaysian-based budget airline Air Asia, and Malaysian petroleum giant Petronas, but so far, the two Malaysian companies have seemed reluctant to step in and take on the role of title sponsor.

Paddock rumors persist that Yamaha will be launched without a title sponsor, with the bike dressed in the corporate Yamaha blue livery, something akin to the livery shown off at the first Sepang test. These rumors were further fueled today by the list of attendees at the M1 launch included in the press release: All of the people on the list are Yamaha employees, with no external names mentioned. Whether people not on that list will appear at the bike launch at the Sepang circuit remains to be seen. 

Below is the press release issued by Yamaha Factory Racing:

11th February 2011


Yamaha is pleased to announce that it will unveil the final  livery of its 2011 YZR-M1 on 21st February at 6pm at Sepang, Malaysia, the day before the start of the MotoGP test session.

Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies will ride at the test in this new livery.

For media who are present at the test in Malaysia, Yamaha will hold a press conference at the Sepang circuit on Monday 21st February at 6.00pm (Malaysian time).

The following persons will discuss the forthcoming new season:

  • Jorge Lorenzo, YAMAHA FACTORY RACING rider
  • Ben Spies, YAMAHA FACTORY RACING rider
  • Masahiko Nakajima, General Manager Motorsports Development Division
  • Kouichi Tsuji, MotoGP Group Leader & 2011 YZR-M1 Project Leader
  • Shigeto Kitagawa, President of Yamaha Motor Racing
  • Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing
  • Maio Meregalli, Team Director
  • Wilco Zeelenberg, Team Manager

Back to top


I wonder how much a season of title sponsorship typically costs? I'd wager it's a sight less than being an F-1 sponsor: http://news.bbcimg.co.uk/media/images/51207000/jpg/_51207550_schustoryaf...

Just a complete guess, but a Motogp sponsorship has gotta be a drop in the bucket compared to an F1 role. But really, there's gotta be something going on when Malaysian companies are not JUMPING at the chance to sponsor the #1 plate of Yamaha, who have got to be huge in Southeast Asia, even if they're now only riding on the ghost-essence of Rossi.

Even with Rossi onboard, the official Yamaha team only showed up with a title sponsor at the first race, so I would say it is not necessarily linked to Rossi. Moreover, the situation could still be better than 2007 if they end up signing a title sponsor before Qatar.

Petronas pledged 24 million US dollars in 2009 for Three years, they have a year to run on that deal at a cost of 8 million US dollars yet they are still reluctant to come forward as title sponsor?

Is it that Yamaha are asking the extra 6 million to replace Fiat, when Jorges wages are reputed to be the 8 million Petronas are already into? and maybe it could be that they don't feel it's value for money now that they will have no association with Rossi?

Love him or hate him..Nobody is in Rossis league when it comes to the commercial side and they all know it. Why do you think Lorenzo tries so hard with all his plagiaristic antics?

As a malaysian i am very proud if i can see one of the biggest petroleum company in the world could sponsor this world champion team,so we malaysian can watch the motogp with the PETRONAS name at jorge lorenzo and ben spies bike.Make us prouder to be malaysian,we love it.

Kouichi Tsuji has some pretty big shoes to fill; those of Masao Furusawa, 'father' of the M1 and crossplane crank...

Sponsor - shmonsor...

Other then an overall indicator of the health of the world economy in general, and MotoGP in particular, I can't imagine why anyone would care.

Lets face it, the bottom line is MotoGP has yet to recover from tobacco-era.

It's well underlined by many articles on this website, including Livio Suppo insight.

Undoubtedly two of the best riders.Undoubtedly Yamaha are in fine fettle.
The mere fact that they are not bothered about title sponsorship this early indicates utter confidence. Let's face it. Ramon Forcada/Lorenzo made it look easy. House/Woody/Spies.Add to that Wilco and Miao.Plain sailing.
For sure,their biggest concern is HRC with Stoner/Dani/Andrea/Simmo.
All anyone has to do is to analyze the time sheets Valencia through Sepang 1
to get a feeling as to how strong Yamaha actually are heading into 2011.
Should George and Ben destroy the field 2011,I have no doubt sponsor's will come begging and it will probably happen.
So,yes,Yamaha ....go it alone in corporate colours.

I'm sure you were expecting a bigger gap than the 1 second the stopwatch indicated at the end of Sepang 1?..not fully fit yet and in the middle of transforming that unruly steed?.. my my, you are confident, some would say beyond the point objectivity.
Not bothered, utter confidence, plain sailing and destroy could have come straight out of the 2004 pre-season Honda book of quotes..and we all know what happened there?

"not fully fit yet and in the middle of transforming that unruly steed?"
Hes at the start of taming the unruly steed (so unruly thats its previous owner won more 800cc races than anyone, including the almighty himself) I'd say rather than the middle. And will he ever truly be fully fit? It depends on the lap times of the others, rather than his shoulder ligaments I'd say. Buts thats just my opinion...

As for Yamaha, they have the fastest rider in the world and that Spies bloke ain't half fast either. They can fully fund their factory team on their own, no sweat. So I don't see what the jibing is about? Its not like they're going to pull out like those Moto2 and 125 teams every other week cause they can't find a title sponsor. They'll both be up front fighting for wins regardless of where the money comes from. As will Rossi, Stoner and Pedrosa. I'm just looking forward to a good season of racing, its shaping up nicely so far.

Well hes right up there anyway. Going on last seasons form, Lorenzo is the "strongest", is maybe what I should have said, form-wise. Casey is probably faster than everyone, just hope his form and consistency improve. I'm a much bigger Stoner fan than Lorenzo fan for the record

I'm pretty sure Yamaha are desperate for a sponsor. To say they are not bothered is to totally miss the point, the bottom line is they are a business and a sponsors contribution would have been factored in at the start of budgeting. If they don't get one it's a pretty reflection of the ability of the team as the other factory teams have got it covered,(if only just in HRCs case). I suspect there is at least one sponsor in the wings even if the numbers don't quite add up, but the contrast to ducati is huge.
Wonder how Jorge feels about it??

Poles and wins galore to embellish his richly deserved 2010 title. To say Stoner is the man is presumptuous at best. Lorenzo was almost faultless (Rossi and Simoncelli tangles apart) last season, carrying corner speed the likes of which I've never seen before in the premier class. Yeah his weird mimicking of Rossi's passe post race pantomimes (whatever the purpose) probably grates on more people than not, but you cannot deny the man for what he is - insanely fast. He's wearing the number 1 plate (good) and definitely starts the season favourite - albeit by a narrow margin.

Well said Nostro.

In my unworthy opinion even if Jorge didn't dominate (which he did) last year, he ended up with the most points at the end of the season which means he didn't override the tracks or his machine and was consistantly fast enought to outperform all the others.

In my book that makes him the fastest man in the world - until someone proves they can beat him in points in an entire season.

Sepang 2 will be telling. The D16 will improve within the ambit of #46's
shoulder or lack threreof. No doubt about it,Tissot Round#2 will call time.
I expect Yamaha and HRC will be bang on time.
The # 46 'owns Sepang',so,yes Wosideg,I expect him to dominate Tissot data in 2 weeks time.
My personal picks are #1,#11 and #27 all season long.

I think too much emphasis is placed on these tests in terms of who is going to win the title..last year it was Rossi top of the sheets for 5/6 and Stoner the other. Jorge?..Nine wins and only off the podium twice with the most points ever.

It is very interesting though for us to watch and pass judgement..we're cold turkey and who can blame us. Improvement is key more than flat out times, and this is what I'll be looking for from Ducati..closing that gap, not just Rossi and Hayden but the rest of them too. Stoners times relative to his Honda compadres..Crutchlow to Edwards.

I would be surprised to see Val dominate so early and to be honest, don't see anyone dominating this season like last. I'd love to see Spies win, Hayden too. Dovi, Simoncelli?

8 winners is probably asking a bit much, but that's how close it could be this year and you never know your luck.

Xmas is done and I've had my fill of eating morsels..PI WSB, Two weeks and I can't wait.

Lorenzo was not riding at Sepang 2 due to a motocross injury, so I understand what you mean but the comparison is not that meaningful.

Last year Lorenzo won a not so much convincing world title - injuries of both Pedrosa and Rossi at crucial moments in the championship, togheter with an inconsistent season from Stoner - although he has proved that he is one of the fastest.
This world title by default associated with some unpleasent character traits gives the present scenario - lack of major sponsor; maybe Lorenzo is not a very commercial product after all.

Are you for real? What year were you world champion? At anything?

Incidentally, anyone here shelled out their own money for a FIAT in the last two years?

Pedro makes some valid points..all the other 3 aliens crashed themselves out of contention last year..Lorenzo had it easy and won't win 9 this year. I know it, Petronas know it, Air Asia know it but sadly you don't.

You can only beat what's infront of you and fairplay to him for doing what he had to do..but don't kid youself this guy is the next Rossi, Doohan, Lawson or Rainey.

Have we got to win a WC to comment Fahncahn?

Look at Lorenzo's worst results: off the podium twice (finishing 4th in Aragon and Japan), and off the front row once. He forced Rossi, Stoner and Pedrosa into serious mistakes. Casey Stoner repeatedly said "Jorge is making us look silly." No serious commentators have said that Lorenzo stole his title, only the most partisan of fans.

There are two things to add to this: First, there are plenty of fans who dislike Lorenzo's antics, and therefore dislike him as a person (rightly or wrongly). Whether you like him or not is no measure of the Spaniard's achievements. Secondly, 2011 is a new season, and everyone gets a new chance. Nobody - including Jorge Lorenzo - thinks 2011 is going to be easy. There are at least four, probably five, maybe even six or seven riders in with a chance of the championship.

you have a pink, green, blue and white Fiat 500 secreted somewhere and don't want to be caught out.

World championships are not the exclusive domain of V. Rossi and if you are only watching GP for one rider then I pity you.

There have been various good runs over the past few years. Some say Loris was on his way to number one in 06 before Upsete put the brakes on him, but we'll never know.

Nicky only won because Rossi's camel wouldn't stop smoking? I don't know, but you still have to get the most points to be the champ, regardless of events.

If Rossi wins this year, I'll remain in awe of him and guess what, if he doesn't, I will anyway. The talent of all of these guys is incredible and to damn all but Rossi with your faint praise says more of you than them.
Unless you are just saying it in the hope that they'll read this and your mind games will set up Vale for a headstart? You are a cunning one..

I don't agree with this assumption that Jorge forced other riders into a mistake, which let's be honest was brought up after Rossi broke his leg in FP2 at Mugello..

Rossi was almost Four tenths up at the end of Friday and FP1..3rd biggest gap out of the whole field. You wrote about it your piece, about him waiting and his tyres cooling, something others have talked about.. it was a mistake, that's all!
Nothing to do with pressure, which as we all know comes in the race..ask Casey.

Casey is Casey and is liable to crash if you run up behind him and shout BOO!
Danis was technical..a poorly fitted throttle to ECU cable that a long standing memeber of HRC got the sack over.

Jorge is not everybodys cup of tea in the personality stakes, personally I think he's trying too hard to emulate Rossi and cash in with the Spanish..but he is fast, he has improved his results year on year, which is more than can be said for Stoner, and he was a worthy Champ..but like Stoner in 2007 until he backs it up because of the circumstances in which he won it..there will be a question mark.

I will partially retract what I said: Pedrosa was not forced into a mistake, his injury was caused purely by mechanical failure. As for Rossi's crash, everyone who saw the practice - including some very experienced former riders - said Rossi was pushing harder than they'd seen him push for a long time, taking more risks than usual. He had something to prove at Mugello, and was prepared to take risks to achieve it.

Certainly, the reason he was being beaten so badly by his teammate early in the season was clearly because of the shoulder injury. But Rossi also clearly traveled to Mugello determined to make a point. He got caught out by the cold tire issue, something that caught a lot of riders out all year (and he was unlucky with the crash being so physically damaging), but he crashed because he was taking more risks than usual. And he was taking more risks than usual because he felt he was under pressure.

Rossi was 9 points behind going in..2-1 down on wins and Mugello is hallowed ground, so yes..given the bigger picture I can believe he was pushing hard and the gap in FP1 would seem to support that. The crash itself was not in the middle of a hot QP lap for example, so it will always be open to conjecture, depending on who you root for, maybe..

What is for sure is that it took away what looked like shaping up into a right royal battle for the No1 plate..the pressure angle is sometimes trotted out by the same folk who are convinced Lorenzo would have won it anyway, whether Rossi was fully fit for all 18 races or not. This again is conjecture but as we now know, the shoulder injury was serious. Rossi did that to himself away from the race track so it is kind of sad that JL, through no fault of his own, has this cloud hanging over his championship.

But that's the way it goes. He has a chance to convince the doubters this year that last year was no fluke, same applies to Stoner albeit with reference to 2007,
a much longer period of time but while he was riding the Ducati.

One thing..if neither of them win again until Rossi retires, will we look at them with the same eyes as most look at Nicky?

If you'll bear with me for a moment: One of my favorite quotes is from the British Prime Minister Harold McMillan. When asked what the greatest challenge was to a statesman, he replied "Events, dear boy, events."

This holds just as true in motorcycle racing. In the case of both Stoner and Lorenzo, you can point to events which had an obvious effect on the outcome of the championship. However, the same could be said to be true for any championship year: In 2003, the Repsol Honda was clearly light years ahead of all the other bikes on the grid. In 2009, the Yamaha was clearly a better bike than the rest of the field, Casey Stoner suffered from lactose intolerance and took a long time to discover the problem, Jorge Lorenzo was in just his 2nd year in MotoGP. Kevin Schwantz won a championship when Wayne Rainey crashed, and Rainey beat Schwantz when Schwantz was clearly on inferior equipment, and beat Doohan when Doohan suffered the horrific crash at Assen that nearly ended his career early.

Events will influence 2011 too. What if Rossi's shoulder does not recover sufficiently for him to be competitive again? What if Rossi and Burgess can't get the Ducati fixed to make it easier to ride? What if Ducati, Yamaha and Honda decide to pull out of the 2012 season over arguments about the CRT teams and how much fuel they get?

By the end of 2011 - whoever wins the world championship - we will once again be talking ifs and buts. But whoever does win the world championship will have deserved it. Getting lucky will win you a race, it will not win you a championship. Winning a world championship means get on or near the podium almost every race, all 18 weekends of the season. No luck involved in that.

Well said Sir.

You've got me intrigued now and I've been waiting for that promised follow up article from last year..

"What if Ducati, Yamaha and Honda decide to pull out of the 2012 season over arguments about the CRT teams and how much fuel they get?"..
tell us more..

Wosidog I agree, he capitalised no doubt but nothing more. Rossi/JLo dominated 2009. With Rossi's training injury after Qatar I don't think it required any extra effort than Jorge was already putting in to cruise to the title as Rossi was his only real competition. Roll on the next test. With special mention to Rossi, hopefully getting the duke fixed, they need to be in the mix. If they get it to handle there could be some royal battles, there is no doubt the other satellites and factory teams have had it easy these last few years against it(Casey 07 excluded).

Against opposition as strong or stronger as at any other time in the history of the sport he crushed them through mind boggling speed allied with fantastic machine control and consistency. Lorenzo was fastest all year and didn't make mistakes as the others did. It cannot be argued legitimately in any other way. There's a bit of straw grasping going on out there in some quarters.

After barging into Simoncelli and staying on I think he's forgotten completely how to crash!

Fully agree. People who argue that Nicky didnt deserve his 06 title are just mean-spirited but people who have even the slightest thing against JLs title in 2010 are morons. He totally dominated and no one could get near him. I really cant see where the argument is. Moto Gp now has 4 super talented (maybe 5 with Spies) riders competing on factory machinery equipment and when one can dominate like JL did in '10, anyone saying he doesnt deserve his WC just looks stupid. He has nothing to prove to anyone, CS27, VR46 and DP26 are the ones who have to prove they're worthy in 2011.

JL was streets ahead in 2010, I just hope its closer in 2011 for the sake of the championship

2004 and 2008 have no such but fors ... you can't take a title away from the champ no question but it is considerably easier if your main competitors are sidelined or not fit, whether you Casey, Jorge, Rossi or Nicky. It isn't always the case. and oddly Nicky springs to mind, where it was a straight out one race battle for the title. As for 2009. Rossi and JLO spent roughly the same time in the litter if I remember right, though I might not, and I was looking forward to a similar battle in 2010, and there is little doubt that Rossi's shenanikins put paid to it. 

Spot on Hugelean.

My comment about Nick was not intendeded as a put down, merely an observation on perception.

Hayden has never been considered an "Alien"..if Lorenzo doesn't win another title before Rossi retires, will he slip out of that club? If Stoner doesn't win it this year it will be Four years without backing it up, the same amount of time that Nicky has gone to this point..will he be relegated, in most fans mind, to an also ran?

It could be argued that of the three, Haydens was the most valid title..but he doesn't generally get placed in the same class as the other Two.

The discussion here is moving beyond intelligent debate of the issues, and onto personal attacks on riders and other posters. Comments will be removed and edited without warning, as some have already been removed or edited. So please, think and reread your comments before posting, so that I don't have to do that for you.