In the midst of motorcycle racing's launch season comes an interesting project. The CAME IODA Racing team was launched last night in Rome - featuring a night-time ride by Danilo Petrucci on the IODA TR003 bike used last year through the streets of the Eternal City, as part of the three-day Moto Days exhbition in Rome - at which the MotoGP pairing of Petrucci and Lukas Pesek were presented, along with Johann Zarco, will be riding the team's Suter Moto2 bike this season.
At the same time, an interesting project to try to leverage the team's fan base was also presented. Team boss Giampiero Sacchi - formerly of Aprilia - presented the IODA Your Racing project, an idea to try to raise funds through fans of the team. The idea is that everyone who wanted to contribute to the team can chip in a small amount - the current level of contribution is set at 10 euros - to help fund the team. For that amount, you get your name or nickname - to a maximum of 12 letters - on the fairing of Danilo Petrucci's Suter BMW MotoGP bike. Clearly, the 10 euros does not buy you a lot of real estate: the twelve characters of your nickname will take up an area just 0.5mm high and 10mm wide, but it will be displayed for the full length of the season.
The IODA project is part of an emerging trend, where teams and riders are trying to make up for the falling off of more traditional forms of sponsorship and leveraging the power of numbers and the loyalty of their fans. Moto2 riders Gino Rea and Ant West are in a similar predicament. Gino Rea has opened a special donation club, the Gino Rea Club, where he is soliciting donations to help find him a ride in 2013. Ant West is attempting a more traditional route, offering sponsorship packages to friends and supporters on his personal website. It is an interesting battle between the traditional large-budget sponsorship packages offered by West, versus the smaller budget, but easier to afford donation efforts from Rea. With the sponsorship malaise continuing, this looks set to be the way forward.