It is looking increasingly likely that energy drink company Monster is to take on a role as co-sponsor of Yamaha’s MotoGP team. Spanish website Motocuatro is reporting that Yamaha has bought Jorge Lorenzo out of his personal sponsorship by rival energy drink maker Rockstar and that both Lorenzo and Valentino Rossi are to carry Monster sponsorship on their leathers and on the fairings of their Yamaha M1s for 2013 and 2014.

According to Motocuatro, the story started earlier this year, after Lorenzo renewed his contract with Rockstar, and Valentino Rossi announced he would be signing with Yamaha. Both Rockstar and Monster had been in talks with Yamaha to step up their sponsorship of their riders – both men have personal contracts with their respective energy drink brands – to increase exposure for the brand.

At first, Motocuatro reports, Monster showed an interest in moving up as co-sponsor on Rossi’s bike, gaining the same level of sticker coverage as ENEOS, the Japanese oil brand which also adorns the Yamaha’s fairings.

In response, Rockstar started negotiations with Yamaha to match Monster’s offer, meaning that both Lorenzo and Rossi would have equal levels of energy drink sponsorship on their bikes. Lorenzo would have Rockstar stickers, while Rossi would have Monster badges.

Having two competing brands on the two different bikes was an acceptable solution for all parties, each brand remaining with the rider they are associated with. But according to Motocuatro, at Valencia, Monster decided to make a counter-offer to Yamaha, to assume co-sponsorship for the entire team.

Their reasoning, Motocuatro suggests, is that Monster feared being on the least successful of the two factory Yamaha bikes, a reasonable assumption given that Lorenzo has just wrapped up his second world title on the bike, while Rossi returns to Yamaha after two barren years at Ducati.

Accepting the offer left Yamaha facing a problem: if they wanted to have Monster sponsoring both bikes, they would have to invoke the clause in Lorenzo’s contract giving them the right to veto his personal sponsor. Such clauses exist in nearly every rider contract; having a competing firm on the cap and leathers of a rider can dissuade companies from sponsoring teams. But getting rid of Rockstar comes at a price for Yamaha.

The Japanese factory must buy Lorenzo out of his sponsorship, said to be worth 1 million euros a year. Yamaha would be compensated for their pains, though: Motocuatro reports that Monster upped its offer to Yamaha from 1.5 million euros a season for just space on Rossi’s bike, to 4 million euros a year on the bikes of both Rossi and Lorenzo.

That, it is believed, is about what Yamaha are paying a year to Rossi to race for them, about a third of the salary he received at Ducati. The Monster sponsorship of the factory Yamaha team would have no effect on the title sponsorship deal with Tech 3, which will continue to remain the Monster Tech 3 Yamaha squad.

Just how reliable these reports are remains to be seen. No confirmation of the details of this story has yet been forthcoming, and even this week, Lorenzo was making public appearances in full Rockstar Energy regalia. The story does confirm rumors of Monster sponsorship of Yamaha which have been doing the rounds of the paddock for some time now.

However, in July, Motocuatro reported that Marlboro would switch its backing from Ducati to Yamaha, following Rossi to the Japanese factory. That story turned out to be false; Marlboro – or rather, Phillip Morris, the tobacco giant behind the Marlboro brand – will continue to sponsor Ducati for 2013.

Beyond 2013 is uncertain, sources close to Phillip Morris have suggested the tobacco giant is growing tired of the lack of success, and could decide to pull out altogether at the end of next year.

Any sponsorship deal between Yamaha and Monster would be announced in the first week of January, with a press release to follow. The first hint of a new sponsor for Yamaha could come at Jorge Lorenzo’s first public appearance. If he is no longer sporting Rockstar Energy caps and clothing, the Motocuatro’s reports will have been vindicated.

Source: Motocuatro; Photo: © 2012 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved

  • WOW – If Rossi dropped his salary by 2/3 to leave Ducati/join Yamaha .. that’s commitment !

  • Spamtasticus

    Only if by commitment you mean desperation.

  • FernandoARG

    And by desperation you mean sacrific of payroll to get back to winning? On a factory he helped come back from the same place Ducati is now? Don’t forget this 2003 MotoGP results Carlos Checa 7th, Alex Barros 9th. After that year Davide Brivio, Valentino Rossi, Jeremy Burgess, Masao Furusawa brought that bike from middle pack grid filler to an all time most competitive machine, hopefully the old dogs still have some fight left, sacrifice 2/3 out of his salary? Desperation? Sure I would be desperate too after not being able to ride a bike that only one person got a championship out of it, Casey Stoner did it once, then a domino effect of decline started in 2008.

  • Mears

    It would also bring symmetry to Yamaha’s presence in the U.S. as Monster sponsors the Graves AMA teams. Prepare for super Monster edition R6’s and R1’s!

  • Halfie30

    @ “Spam”: Dont forget Ducati offered him a lot of money to stay. With Audi backing the numbers were in double digit millions. So there was no desaration for a ride in the paddock.

  • Spamtasticus

    Fernando, That is precicely the desperation I spoke of. Desperate to be in a position to have a fighting chance again. I’ve seen his yacht in the med. He is set in the $ dept.

  • Damo

    Not a huge energy drink fan, but I think Monster tastes better than Rockstar. So there is always that, at least.

  • Tonyw

    Well hopefully he gets his desire to compete back. Perhaps a renewed rivalry against Lorenzo will be just what the dr ordered!

  • Westward

    Desire to compete? It never waned. Rossi back on a Yamaha M1 immediately makes him a possible front runner for the championship. I would put Rossi down for six victories if not more in 2013.

  • Faust

    +1 Westward

    The reason Rossi wants to get back on the M1, even if it costs him money, is BECAUSE of his desire to compete.

  • Chaz Michael Michaels

    Did it ever dawn on anyone Val might just simply be past it?

    The Spaniard “aliens” are entering the prime of their careers and have no fear of Rossi.

    I see some 3rd and 4th places in his 2013 future.

    …aliens aside, you think Crutchlow will be easy to beat?

    Nothing will come easy for Rossi next year and the magic is gone.

  • Faust

    Haters gonna hate. Why is it so absurd to make the conclusion that if a world champion (Rossi or Hayden) goes to a bike that is consistently the worst finisher, that they might do better on a better bike? Look at the dramatic change in Stoner’s riding after he switched. In 2010 on the Duc he crashed out like 5 times. In 2011 he was on the podium every single race except the one where Val crashed into him. Did his skills take a quantum leap forward, or could some of it be the bike? Once Duc switched to the carbon fiber frame on the GP9, it got worse and Stoner was saying so non-stop at the time. Some day maybe they will figure out what they are doing over there, but with Val and his team trying to help out and still striking out, who konws. I can’t wait to see what all the internet experts will say if Rossi starts winning again on the M1.

  • Chaz Michael Michaels

    Faust I agree with you. Rossi is still great. But in 2013 will he be the greatest?

    Guys like Pedrosa and Lorenzo are waiting with baited breath to beat him in 2013. How much do those guys want to beat a no excuses Rossi riding a bike equal to theirs?

    Then factor in a very talented Crutchlow with something to prove, in his prime, and several years riding the yamaha.

    Rossi, not in his prime, no longer feared, playing catch up, will not be the dominating.

    It all adds up to a few 3rd place finishes…maybe a win…and a bunch of 4ths. …and retirement or a long Capirossi fade for several seasons to the middle of the pack.

  • Racerx

    Crutchlow on Yamaha for several years????? Just been 2 years. What is wrong with you??

  • Racerx

    LOL Monster has little faith in Rossi. Funny how Monster wants both bikes for fear Rossi stinks up the place and Jorge with Rockstar clean house in 2013. So now they still look good with Jorge winning on a Monster energy bike.