Yamaha today unveiled the livery of their World Superbike team for 2011, and though the color scheme is similar to last year's there is one major, and rather worrying difference. For where there should be the large logo of a title sponsor, instead there is Yamaha's R1 logo, signifying that Yamaha have failed to pick up a title sponsor for the 2011 season. Despite the presence of Marco Melandri, an Italian who should be popular in their home market, Italian dairy giant Sterilgarda have chosen not to extend their sponsorship deal, which ran through 2009 and 2010.
Yamaha are putting a brave face on it, underlining the return to corporate colors. But it is a worrying sign of the state of racing sponsorship that a team as successful and competitive as the Yamaha WSBK team is unable to secure a title sponsor. The fear for Yamaha must be that the factory will also be unable to secure a sponsorship deal for their MotoGP team as well, after Fiat pulled out at the end of 2010. Yamaha's MotoGP machine is to be unveiled at Sepang on Monday night. We shall see then whether Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies will also be running in Yamaha corporate colors.
Below is the official press release from Yamaha:
Yamaha World Superbike Team unveil 2011 livery
The 2011 Yamaha World Superbike Team has unveiled the livery they will run for the upcoming World Superbike season. The new design features a Yamaha blue corporate racing colour scheme. The livery takes its inspiration from both the famous Yamaha speed block design and also one of the colours of the current production model YZF-R1, giving the bike a modern sleek appearance whilst emphasizing Yamaha’s racing image.
The team features an all new rider line up for the 2011 championship with 28yr old Italian rider Marco Melandri, a previous 250cc World Champion, stepping across from MotoGP to partner 24yr old rider Eugene Laverty from Northern Ireland who steps up from the World Supersport Championship. The new livery will feature prominently on the leathers of both riders.
The team continues its winter testing schedule on the 21st and 22nd February at the Phillip Island circuit in advance of the opening round of the championship in Australia on 27th February.
Extensive photography of the new Yamaha World Superbike Team livery including detailed technical images of the 2011 YZF-R1 Superbike are now available for download at www.yamaha-racing.com/wsb/photo
Photos below copyright and courtesy of Yamaha Racing: http://www.yamaha-racing.com/