Petronas splashes US$24 million to sponsor Rossi and Yamaha
Petronas, the Malaysian national oil and gas corporation, has become a major sponsor of the Fiat Yamaha MotoGP team after signing a three-year deal.
Petronas has worked with Yamaha for eight years in a variety of fields, but this marks their first collaboration in MotoGP. Petronas branding will appear on the Fiat Yamaha team's bikes, equipment and uniforms, including that of Valentino Rossi, the sport's biggest superstar, who finished second in the first race of the 2009 season.
However, rumours continue that Rossi may leave the team in 2011, with a year of the Petronas deal still to run. "I will ride until I’m 31 or 32 at most," the 30-year-old has said. "I will look for new stimuli in the next few seasons, but for now I am fully motivated."
Petronas quit as title sponsor of Carl Fogarty's World Superbike team in 2006 after the team struggled to compete with Ducati and Honda. The situation is very different at Fiat Yamaha, the MotoGP manufacturer's champions last season.
Lin Jarvis, managing director of Yamaha Motor Racing, said: "This is a very exciting development for Yamaha and for the sport of MotoGP. Yamaha and Petronas already have a successful business relationship away from racing, and this new, long-term, business partnership will see the ties between the two multi-national companies strengthened further. It is especially good to see a global company of Petronas' stature making the decision to enter into our sport at this difficult time and we look forward to working hand in hand with them to develop a long and mutually beneficial relationship."
MotoGP is the second most watched motorsports event after Formula One, and is the premier class of motorcycling racing worldwide.
- Length of contract: 3 years
- Annualised value: US$8 million
- Overall value: US$24 million