Rizla sign new Suzuki MotoGP deal

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Rizla will remain as title sponsor of Suzuki’s factory MotoGP effort in 2010 and 2011, as was first reported by MCN at the beginning of December, Suzuki announced today (Monday) that it had secured a new two-year agreement with ITL (Imperial Tobacco Limited).

Rizla became the title sponsor of Suzuki’s MotoGP team in 2006 and the announcement of a further extension to the partnership will mean the Suzuki GSV-R will compete in the famous ‘Rizla Blue’ until at least 2011.

Suzuki has managed to retain Rizla despite enduring a torrid 2009 premier class campaign that saw Italian veteran Loris Capirossi and Chris Vermeulen struggle to make any impression on the factory GSV-R.

For the first time since 2004, Suzuki didn’t score a podium, but Rizla will remain on board to sponsor Capirossi and new team-mate, Spanish rookie Alvaro Bautista.

Suzuki team boss Paul Denning said: “Everybody involved with the Suzuki Grand Prix project is delighted that the Rizla brand will continue its partnership in 2010 and into 2011, and that we are able to continue with the now iconic Rizla Suzuki image for the next two seasons.

"It’s very clear that the 2009 season fell far below our expectations and targets, but Loris, Álvaro, the whole team and the Suzuki Racing group in Hamamatsu will be doing everything we can to take a big step forward and re-pay Rizla’s faith in the project during 2010 and beyond.”

Capirossi and Bautista begin their 2010 testing schedule in Malaysia this weekend when a two-day test session at the Sepang circuit kicks off on Thursday, February 4. Graham Blashill, Sales and Marketing Director, Imperial Tobacco Group Plc added: “We are delighted to continue our sponsorship of the Suzuki MotoGP team over the 2010 and 2011 seasons, and I look forward to an exciting couple of years both on the track and in our own business.

"The MotoGP platform fits perfectly with Rizla's global, premium status and the close partnership we have forged with the Suzuki team enables us to leverage the brand extremely effectively.

"Both from a personal point of view, and on behalf of the Imperial Tobacco Group, I wish Loris and Álvaro the best of luck on the track and I look forward to success for the Rizla Suzuki MotoGP team as a whole.”

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt