Yamaha’s 2014 livery, unveiled last month in Indonesia, is set to change before the first race at Qatar, as the team brings onboard Spanish mobile phone operator Movistar as title sponsor.
The rumours of the link-up have been circulating the MotoGP paddock for months, and remain to be officially confirmed by Yamaha, but Spanish magazine Solomoto reports that a slip last week by the head of content for the phone company’s TV arm appears to confirm the deal.
The Yamaha squad have been without a main sponsor since the departure of Fiat alongside Valentino Rossi back in 2010, and the return of Movistar is bound to be a welcome boost to the financials of the Japanese manufacturer’s racing arm.
Movistar are part of the global mobile phone network Telefonica that also controls the UK’s O2, but the deal seems to revolve around their entry into the television market – a familiar story for UK fans, as their pay-per-view channels become set to exclusively show some races in 2014 for the huge Spanish market after free channel Telecinco found itself unable to raise the £15 million plus for broadcast rights.
Movistar of course have a long history in the MotoGP paddock, most recently with Fausto Gresini’s 2005 Movistar Honda team of Marco Melandri and Sete Gibernau, as well as support much of the early career of Dani Pedrosa, including one 125cc and two 250cc world titles.