On the eve of the final MotoGP test at Jerez, Yamaha used the opportunity to officially present their MotoGP team and livery for the 2012 season. The bikes are similar to last years, but with more white, giving a cleaner look, but once again, Yamaha have no title sponsor. Asked at the presentation whether that would be a problem, Yamaha boss Lin Jarvis told the media that Yamaha was not in racing to make money, but to promote the Yamaha brand, something which is more difficult with a title sponsor.
One of the advantages of not having a title sponsor is the freedom to use special liveries on your motorcycle as and when you see fit. Throughout the preseason, while Yamaha haggled over potential title sponsorship deals with companies such as Telefonica, Petronas and AirAsia, in the back of their minds, the Japanese factory knew that if they failed to secure a title sponsor, they would be able instead to use the season - and Jorge Lorenzo's #1 plate - to promote their own brand in their 50th anniversary year in world championship motorcycle racing.
And this is exactly what they have done. In addition to running their current bike in corporate (blue and white) colors throughout the year, Yamaha will be a special anniversary livery for the Assen and Laguna Seca rounds of MotoGP this year. The classic red-and-white livery is based on the colors the factory sported when they first entered the sport 50 years ago, and the colors used throughout Yamaha's years of successful racing in the 1970s and '80s.
At a hot and humid Sepang circuit, on the eve of the second Sepang test, Yamaha unveiled the official color scheme for the 2011 MotoGP season, and as expected, the bikes will be carrying Yamaha corporate colors, with no sign of a title sponsor. Yamaha's factory team had been linked to deals with Malaysian budget airline Air Asia and petroleum giant Petronas, but though Petronas is continuing as a subsponsor, they have not expanded their role to take on the role of title sponsor.
Naturally, Yamaha are putting a positive spin on the lack of a title sponsor, preferring to focus on the fact that 2011 will be Yamaha's 50th season in Grand Prix racing, and use this as an opportunity to market the brand. But at the Sepang launch, Yamaha Racing's managing director Lin Jarvis told the media that the team was still open to a title sponsor, should the opportunity present itself.