Yamaha Unveil 2011 World Superbike Livery - But There's No Sponsor

Yamaha today unveiled the livery of their World Superbike team for 2011, and though the color scheme is similar to last year's there is one major, and rather worrying difference. For where there should be the large logo of a title sponsor, instead there is Yamaha's R1 logo, signifying that Yamaha have failed to pick up a title sponsor for the 2011 season. Despite the presence of Marco Melandri, an Italian who should be popular in their home market, Italian dairy giant Sterilgarda have chosen not to extend their sponsorship deal, which ran through 2009 and 2010.

Yamaha are putting a brave face on it, underlining the return to corporate colors. But it is a worrying sign of the state of racing sponsorship that a team as successful and competitive as the Yamaha WSBK team is unable to secure a title sponsor. The fear for Yamaha must be that the factory will also be unable to secure a sponsorship deal for their MotoGP team as well, after Fiat pulled out at the end of 2010. Yamaha's MotoGP machine is to be unveiled at Sepang on Monday night. We shall see then whether Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies will also be running in Yamaha corporate colors.

Below is the official press release from Yamaha:

Yamaha World Superbike Team unveil 2011 livery

The 2011 Yamaha World Superbike Team has unveiled the livery they will run for the upcoming World Superbike season. The new design features a Yamaha blue corporate racing colour scheme. The livery takes its inspiration from both the famous Yamaha speed block design and also one of the colours of the current production model YZF-R1, giving the bike a modern sleek appearance whilst emphasizing Yamaha’s racing image.

The team features an all new rider line up for the 2011 championship with 28yr old Italian rider Marco Melandri, a previous 250cc World Champion, stepping across from MotoGP to partner 24yr old rider Eugene Laverty from Northern Ireland who steps up from the World Supersport Championship. The new livery will feature prominently on the leathers of both riders.

The team continues its winter testing schedule on the 21st and 22nd February at the Phillip Island circuit in advance of the opening round of the championship in Australia on 27th February.

Extensive photography of the new Yamaha World Superbike Team livery including detailed technical images of the 2011 YZF-R1 Superbike are now available for download at www.yamaha-racing.com/wsb/photo

Photos below copyright and courtesy of Yamaha Racing: http://www.yamaha-racing.com/

Eugene's bike

Marco's bike

The Office

Business tools to die for

The rider's left hand operates has all the work to do, including operating the launch control and pit lane limiter buttons, and the brake lever adjuster

"Naked and she moves!"

There's even carbon underneath the carbon

Sting in the tail

The aim of racing is to make this the only view your competitors get of the machine

The Likely Lads: Marco Melandri and Eugene Laverty



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It seems Sidi and AStars interpretation of the colopur "Yamaha Blue" is quite different. And is it just me or do melandri's leathers not look to be fitting that well?

And, lastly, why do they both appear to be staring at the photographers groin in the pic of them standing together?

Definitely a bit disconcerting. Yamaha has the money to run without sponsership for awhile, but they can't do it for too long--especially with BOTH major racing outfits running corporate colors. With the exposure they offer, you'd think a brand like Yamaha would have sponsers lining up. I know the economy is bad, but is it that bad? Or is Yamaha expecting too much??

It just doesn't make a lot sense from where I'm sitting and raises a lot of questions.

Because the photographer they paid to do this shoot is terrible. Or the poor guy was simply told to shut up and shoot at the direction of Yamaha. These are some of the worst pictures Ive ever seen. They dont make me excited in anyway.

As for the sponsorship issue. My guess is that Yamaha is expecting too much. Gone are the days of free money. Companies are preparing for a long downturn in the world and first country economies. The price to exposure ratio is better spent in a different way.

For sure Yamaha have not drawn huge title sponsorship in either SBK or GP for 2011. I reckon they have played a very hard 'ball game' re,title sponsors.
No doubt they have the riders and the bikes.Masao is suggesting that they will contest Moto3 next year. That equates to expanding their racing efforts.
In a way it suggests to me that they are quite confident and equipped enough to go it alone,as they have done previously.
Good on them.I like the corporate colours too.

Oh I do not like that at all. It looks like a street bike, not like a factory racing machine. Sure that will help identify it in the the showrooms and sell models blah blah blah. But I'd like something a bit more imaginative from a factory racing effort. The nicest part of the livery design is the blue detail on the seat.

Also, a universal pet peeve of mine is rider numbers. Its getting stupid with all these fancy designs and jagged font designs used for the rider numbers. I'll wager these riders and their designers have not watched a race on TV and tried to identify the sqiggly blob that should be the number on the front and side of the bike. Form follows function, and these designs are not functional at all. Sure they look 'cool' in the paddock, but is that what its for. The number area on the R1 looks tiny too. Very poor design, and not at all functional.

I'm a designer so I take these things seriously :P

er .. marco appears to not be wearing the additional crash-protection padding that riders seem to wear a lot these days. once that stuff in under the leathers, they will tighten up nicely!

secondly - perhaps it is just me - but i pick riders numbers off the front of bike or the riders leathers. the tiny 'fancy' font numbers on the tail are rather secondary, anyway.

lastly, i'm a designer & i have no issue with yamaha's corporate scheme. the bike looks just fine.

who needs cigarette sponsors anyway?

Marco always seems to look like he is in pain!!! what is the go with that.. and how tall is he?

Who would sponser Marco? he has done nothing in the last 4 years... except make up the numbers..

He rode that lame duck of a Kawasaki pretty convincingly without support of any kind. So... there's always that. Not to mention he was a GP rider. Generally... even the best WSBK riders make for mediocre GP riders. There are, of course, a few exceptions.

yeah ... that was rather special for a while there. its easy to take pot-shots at riders who can ride better than any of us with 4 broken limbs & a head full of narcotics - and i am in no way inferring marco is one of them, its just an extreme example that reinforces that they are supermen compared to us lot - (there are many who will have fit this bill at some point or other).

marco is savagely talented yet he is in a time that is full of savage talent & even more savage firing policies.

i like the guy for one & fail to see where his height has any relevence.

It is amazing to me that everyone else seems to have their sponsors lined up and money in hand. The Marketing Dept or whatever Dept that is in charge of getting that sponsorship money is dragging their feet or asking too damn much. There is no way that Suzuki.........SUZUKI, should have sponsorship taken care of and Yamaha does not in Motogp. World Superbike I give more room for that because last year was not all that good for them until the end. But in Motogp they have the World Champion. That alone is gonna get more camera time no matter WHERE he is in the field which in turn means more exposure for whatever companies put their names o the side of the bike.

The economy is bad, but the fact that Suzuki and others have their money already makes me think Yamaha either have some BIG sponsor coming in and they do not want to reveal. Or they are not doing something right IMHO.

Suzuki has sponsorship in MotoGP, but there is a lot of bad feeling in the paddock about the Rizla deal, as it is rumored (and I must stress, just rumored, not confirmed) to be worth about a tenth of what the other factories believe a title sponsorship should be worth. While Ducati get a large part of their overall costs paid by Marlboro, and Repsol pay Honda enough to at least cover their rider salary bill (though they may fall a little short this year), the Rizla deal is rumored (and again I stress, only rumored, attempts to confirm the sums involved are extremely difficult) to fall well short of covering any significant costs.

That makes sense to me. Did not know those details. And I know you are saying it is rumored, but I am not on here to try to prove you wrong. I am sure your the rumors you hear have far more truth in it than someone guessing at the issue, (like me). Good luck to Yamaha anyway. As a former R1 rider it would hurt my heart to see them without a sponsor.

On a strictly UN-biased level (seriously), I think Lorenzo and Spies will have to be in the top three, or in an exciting battle for position get as much TV time as one would think. As many have pointed out, it's the sizzle being sold and not the steak. I know that last year the camera was frequently on rossi in eighth place more than it was on the leaders. Now, with his "dream team", combined with its "explosion at Disney World" colour scheme, a LOT more eyes (and cameras) will be drawn to the Rossi/Ducati over a navy blue and white paint job.

On a slightly different note, there is a magazine in the united states called "Sport Rider", and along with testing all of the newest, latest, greatest sport bikes, they also have an obscure (HA!) contributing editor by the name of Alan Cathcart. In the March 2011 issue, he rode and reported on Haslam's Suzuki, but in the April issue are detailed analyses of Biaggi's Aprilia AND Crutchlow's R1. The articles could not be any more interesting and the bikes could not be any more dissimilar. One of the two is basically described as being the best all-around superbike he has ever ridden, while the other is essentially characterized as being the most powerful AND the most unruly and difficult superbike he has ever ridden. Of the second bike, I'd heard rumors of it being "flattered" in the hands of some riders...and now it seems that there may be some truth to that rumor. The incredibly vivid and detailed descriptions were IMMENSELY fascinating, and they gave me a sense of just how wildly different these machines are. It also gave me an idea of how different the riding styles must be adopted to each bike. In any case, they are both superb reads. (The BMW team superbike was also tested, but it was in the rain, so I did not find it quite as interesting...)

I disagree with the idea that the #1 plate will get exposure just for being the #1 plate. No one saw Nicky running the #1 plate in 07 when Honda showed up illequipped to defend the title. All the TV was time was given to Casey and the front runners as it should be. It Lorenzo falls off next year, which he wont, but lets say he does, he will not be featured as much as the guys up front battling for wins every week.

Except for the proverbial "Poor old Jorge Lorenzo. So dominating last year, just cant seem to get it together this year" from Nick and Gavin.

Nice looking bike, though i'm not a fan of yamaha blue. It would be so pretty in white/red or even yellow/black.

I wonder why Eugene has a blue boot and a black. I blame Rossi the trend setter.

btw, thanks for fixing that left div David, it drove me nuts ;)

I'm not expecting them to feature much this year though. Surely the riders physique and riding style is what identifies him before anything as mundane as a number on his machine?

Monster picked up Lorenzo as a personal sponsor(?), so that begs the question, just how expensive is it for primary sponsorship on a WSBK or Moto GP bike? Because a lot of companies now seem to be going the "personal sponsor" route instead of sponsoring the factory bike itself. Sign of the times?

On a complete side-note (and possibly not comparable?), the AMA Graves Yamaha team has Monster Sponsorship. How can they get that and the World team(s) can't seem to sniff a main sponsor?

RockStar picked up Jorge. If you haven't seen the promo photos he did with them, you owe it to yourself to see what Mr. Lorenzo looks like as a tough, rebellious, "Metal Mulisha"-style bad boy.

Monster is now the el numero uno energy drink (by fluid volume) in the U.S. And that tiny little logo on Rossi's helmet? That, along with the hat he wears, pays him (I believe) €4M a year. That's roughly €80K a WEEK. WHOA. (That also translates to about USD $109K a week.)

And now for something (not quite) completely different, Top Gear had a new(ish) energy drink on the show recently. It's one that Troy Corser endorses, and it has an oh-so-classy name: PUSSY. I can only assume that it's for the truly discerning palates of the "energy drink cognoscenti"...

Not enough money. Traveling around the US and competing in a much more spec series like AMA is going to cost less than competing in WSBK and traveling the world.

As for personal sponsors, its not a sign of the times. Its a sign of the new way of business and ironically I think that the manufacturers created this themselves. Personally Id rather have a laundry list of personal sponsors than rely on just Honda to pay me.

This has come about from the mid to late 90s and the rise of freestyle motorcross. Those guys were buying used bikes and going to the manufacturers and being turned down. So they stripped all the factory color plastics off and rode with black plastic and created an image for themselves. The image sold better than the product in some cases and so thats how they went about getting paid. Go to the upstart designers and show how you can showcase their products. I mean lets be honest, it doesnt matter if you clear a 120 ft gap on a Honda, Yammy, Suzuki or Kawi. What matters is if you did a double backflip knack-knack to no-handed lander over that gap.

And I dont think that any of the companies doing personal sponsorship are going to step up to the big time and do a whole team unless the price is right. Monster has ridiculous amounts of money and they have just decided to do a race team this year. Most of the personal sponsors are smaller companies

Monster is (for the 2nd year in a row) the title sponsor of Tech3 Yamaha MotoGP team. Sure it's gonna be cheaper that title sponsor for the official Yamaha team but still likely to be far more expensive than sponsoring Graves Yamaha in AMA.
Monster is also the personal sponsor of Crutchlow who happens to ride for Tech3.
Not mentionning the midget label on the chin of Rossi's helmet (or the odd cap).
In Moto2 they sponsor Bradley Smith, and possibly a few more.

Red Bull sponsors much more riders in GP, and used to have the Red Bull rookies cup.

... we've gone from tobacco to "energy" drinks as primary sponsors, both will kill you.