The Yamaha World Superbike Team, which has won four of the eight races so far this season with Ben Spies, has finally secured a major sponsor with the news that Italian food brand Sterilgarda will have a significant presence on the bikes and leathers of Spies and team-mate Tom Sykes from this weekend's Monza round.
However, Sterilgarda is already title sponsor of the Marco Borciani-run satellite Ducati team, which has been reduced to a single-rider entry for BSB champion Shane Byrne due to funding cuts.
The big question will now be if Sterilgarda will continue to back Byrne, who currently sits just 13th in the championship, or move all of its support to title contenders Yamaha.
The official announcement said only that 'Sterilgada are a familiar face in the WSB paddock, having been keen supporters and partners of racing teams and riders for some time.'
Yamaha had previously been backed by Santander, but began the 2009 season without any major outside sponsorship.
“It's fantastic to have Sterilgarda onboard,” stated Laurens Klein Koerkamp, manager, Yamaha Motor Europe Racing Division. “It's very positive to have such a well known brand in the paddock recognise how successful the Yamaha World Superbike Team is and want to be part of it. We're looking forward to working together and this being the start of a long term relationship.”