Sete Gibernau's team revealed its new livery here at Jerez yesterday, a rather handsome blue, green, white and red color scheme, vaguely reminiscent of the special livery Gibernau ran in 2006 at Mugello when he was partnered with Loris Capirossi at Ducati. But one thing was prominent by its absence from the bike - a reference to Equatorial Guinea, the small African nation run by the 14th worst dictator in the world, according to Parade Magazine. This is something of a surprise, for the team was originally entered under the banner of Guinea Ecuatorial, the Spanish name for the country, where Francisco Hernando, the man funding the team, is engaged in building a holiday resort complex.
Further research reveals that the whole team has been quietly rebranded. Any association with the dictator is gone, replaced instead by Grupo Francisco Hernando and Nueva Edificacion 2000, another - and less tainted - project run by the Spanish construction group. Even the team has been renamed: Instead of the Guinea Ecuatorial team, it is now called the Grupo Francisco Hernando team.
Over the years, MotoGP has had some sponsors of debatable ethical standards, and discussions have flared up from time to time as to whether it's good for motorcycle racing to be linked to products like tobacco. But while we can argue about the choice of people to use tobacco products or not, brutal dictatorships which routinely engage in torture are not the kind of association that MotoGP needs. Good riddance.