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Fiat, Yamaha partnership officially over

3 January 2011

The four-year Fiat-Yamaha MotoGP partnership has come to an end.

A message on the team's official Twitter page @fiatyamahateam states that it won't be updated and confirms “The team will change title sponsor and therefore it won't be "Fiat Yamaha Team" anymore.”

The team's official website also confirms the agreement is over.

Despite winning all three MotoGP titles in 2010, and retaining new world champion Jorge Lorenzo for next season, Fiat's departure had been expected due to Italian superstar Valentino Rossi's switch from Yamaha to Ducati.

Fiat was Yamaha's first non-tobacco title sponsor of the four-stroke MotoGP era and, while its debut 2007 season brought little success, Fiat-liveried YZR-M1s have won the Riders' and Teams' World Championship every year since 2008.

Although an Italian car manufacturer sponsoring a Japanese motorcycle team seemed a strange mix, Fiat explained MotoGP allowed it to access a younger car-buying audience than F1.

Brands such as Air Asia and Telefonica have been linked to the sponsorship position vacated by Fiat, but it seems no deal has been concluded and it remains possible that a corporate Yamaha livery could be used by Lorenzo and new team-mate Ben Spies in 2011.

Should the most successful manufacturer of recent seasons - Yamaha has won the triple crown of Riders', Teams' and Manufacturers' titles for the past three years running - be unable to secure a title sponsor of value, it will be a further worrying sign for MotoGP economics.


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