5 March 2014
Movistar returns with Lorenzo, Rossi Yamaha MotoGP team
Movistar returns to MotoGP after signing five-year deal as Yamaha's title sponsor.
It has been officially confirmed that Spanish telecommunications giant Telefonica/Movistar will return to MotoGP as Yamaha's title sponsor.
An unusually long five-year deal was finally announced today (Wednesday) and will see the Yamaha Factory Racing team renamed 'Movistar Yamaha MotoGP'.
Jorge Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi are thus likely to race in an updated version of the once familiar blue, white and yellow colours, which Rossi battled against for the MotoGP title in 2003, 2004 and 2005.
Yamaha's final 2014 race livery will be unveiled at Losail, Qatar on March 19 - the eve of the season-opening race weekend.
"It's really a great pleasure to know that Movistar will be joining Yamaha Factory Racing in MotoGP," said seven time MotoGP champion Rossi. "I am also very happy that Yamaha have a new title sponsor! It will be a very important season for me and for Yamaha.
"We have always been very motivated but this news has brought new enthusiasm and this is a very positive thing. At this time the team is very busy in the pre-season tests, we are working very hard because we want to make a fantastic season.
"This goal I believe is important for our new sponsor. We will definitely try our best to be protagonists at every race. I give my best wishes to Movistar for this new adventure!"
Double world champion Lorenzo added: "I am so happy with this announcement and the arrival of such a big, key sponsor as Movistar. This is an enormous partner that is not just Spanish like me but also that shares a big history in the past of the motorsport, especially in motorcycling. Now they're back in MotoGP and more importantly, they have made a perfect marriage with Yamaha!
"It's great to see such an important company as Movistar make a return to motorcycle racing with such a large scale sponsoring activity. I know we can have a great journey battling for the championship alongside them and looking into the future we will do a great job together to achieve loads of success. Welcome Movistar again to this amazing sport that we love, and of course welcome to the Yamaha family!"
Movistar's team sponsorship follows recent news that Telefonica will share Spanish MotoGP broadcasting rights through its subscription platform Movistar TV. News of the forthcoming Yamaha deal was first leaked when Movistar met Spanish media to discuss the new TV agreement.
After winning the 2000 500cc crown with Kenny Roberts and Suzuki, Telefonica and its Movistar brand switched to Gresini Honda for 2003, bringing Spanish star Sete Gibernau with them.
Gibernau lost out on the MotoGP crown to Rossi in 2003 and 2004, the year Rossi moved from Honda to Yamaha, with Gresini team-mate Marco Melandri finishing runner-up to Rossi in 2005.
Telefonica abruptly left MotoGP at the end of that season, apparently unhappy to have lost Dani Pedrosa just as its next Spanish star was stepping up to the premier-class.
Pedrosa had honed his racing skills in the MoviStar Activa Cup, run by Alberto Puig, then raced in Telefonica branded teams throughout his stellar 125 and 250cc grand prix career. However Pedrosa's 2006 factory Honda MotoGP deal meant switching to Repsol colours.
Some sort of shared branding between the two Spanish companies was rumoured but never materialised and Telefonica - which at some stage had backed teams in all three classes - scrapped all of its motorcycle grand prix sponsorship.
Yamaha meanwhile has been without a title sponsor since Fiat left at the end of 2010 - when Rossi departed for Ducati.
The lack of sponsorship since has been in stark contrast to Yamaha's race results - Lorenzo, who won his first MotoGP title in 2010, added a second crown in 2012 and finished runner-up in both 2011 and 2013.
Rossi returned to Yamaha last season and claimed his first race win since 2010.
With pre-season testing now over, Lorenzo and Rossi will ride in their new colours for the first time under the floodlights in Qatar from March 20-23.
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