Fiat Officially Says Ciao to Yamaha

01/03/2011 @ 11:15 am, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

This weekend, Fiat and Yamaha unsurprisingly and officially ended their four-year relationship. The first non-tobacco title sponsor in the four-stroke MotoGP category, Fiat joined up with Yamaha in 2007, when MotoGP switched to the 800cc format. Originally justifying the sponsorship as a way to reach a car-buying audience that was younger than Formula 1 fans, Fiat has always had its eye on the Italian rider. That relationship has manifested itself in Rossi testing with Ferrari on numerous occasions, and prompted the nine-time World Champion to consider kart racing after his motorcycling career is over.

This announcement isn’t a surprise to anyone in the MotoGP camp, as with Rossi vacating Yamaha for the 2011 season, Fiat was expected to pull the plug on its support for the company’s MotoGP efforts. Announcing¬†on its webpage and twitter account that it would be leaving the current Rider, Team, and Manufacturer Championship team (for the third year in a row we might add), Fiat seems equally unimpressed with current Champion Jorge Lorenzo staying on with the squad, and Rookie of the Year Ben Spies joining him for the first time on a factory bike.

While Yamaha Racing is reportedly still in talks with sponsors like Telefonica and AirAsia, it’s looking increasingly likely that the team will run corporate colors at the season opener in Qatar. The debate that will carry on to the beginning of the season will be whether this is a sign of the economic climate in MotoGP, or the a testament to the star power of Valentino Rossi. Leave your thoughts in the comments.

Source: Fiat-Yamaha

  • tarde

    “The debate that will carry on to the beginning of the season will be whether this is a sign of the economic climate in MotoGP, or the a testament to the star power of Valentino Rossi.”

    It seems like a combination of the loyalty, belief (in the team they are endorsing), and principal. Hats off to any firm that stands by their commitment and views.

  • GeddyT

    Isn’t Repsol non-tobacco? Or do you just mean for Yamaha?

  • Jaybond

    Why Fiat did not follow Rossi to Ducati in the first place, leaving AMG snapped up Ducati MotoGP’s title sponsor? Is it because Ducati themselves prefer, something more upmarket & luxury brand like AMG?

  • jebon

    any latest news about Rossi and Ducati Team?
    are Marlboro still the main sponsor for the team?as i know, Rossi doesn’t want tobacco company to sponsor his team before.
    what about Fiat?
    any spy photo of Rossi’s bike that will use in the race??i just can’t wait…

  • Marlboro is still the title sponsor, AMG is the official car sponsor. No photos yet of the bike livery, but it will be unveiled in about a week’s time at the Wrooom event that Ducati holds with Ferrari in the Dolomite mountains each year.

  • Just reaffirming the fact that FIAT own a high percentage of FERRARI, all of this is a bit confusing. What is NOT confusing is the lack of entries in the 2011 MotoGP Championship, I’m reading 15~16 (ish). A very sad state of affairs, further that Dorna wanna sell the whole package, apparently…

  • Pete

    Yamaha will roll up in Qatar with a Title Sponsor. FIAT, in 2007 came to the party @ the 11th hour when all of us thought the Bike would also roll in Blue & White Corporate Yamaha. Is Moto GP Sponsorship really worth it ? Thing is, when more than 3/4’S of the season’s races are done and dusted by lap 5, it becomes boring TV. Sponsors aren’t getting value for their buck. Rossi initially had an issue with Tobacco money but has since had a rethink. The Camel Partnership ended @ Camel’s request and not Rossi. Its Marlboro Ducati with AMG as team Sponsor. The red livery with the barcode is according to them, all the exposure they need. The bulk of the Tab will still be picked up by the Tobacco Boys.

  • SBPilot

    Pete is right. Rossi doesn’t really care much anymore about whether it’s a Tobacco company sponsoring his team, that’s the thing of the past. Especially considering it’s Marlboro money paying largely his pay cheque and not Ducati.

    I am a bit surprised Ducati lets AMG, a German company be their Car Sponsorship, and not procure FIAT to talk deals first. In the end, I thought they wanted the dream “Italian” team..unless some Corporate figures in AMG are in fact..Italian. Regardless, it’s still a German company.

    2011 is exciting because of the team switching. But 2012 will be exciting for the actual racing. I assure that many teams will be having many meetings about whether spend resources on 2011 or most of them on developing the 2012 bike to be competitive. 2011 is a filler year. 2012 is a clean sheet, riders just in their 2nd year with their new teams riding new bikes + (here’s to hoping) a few more private teams to fill the grid.