Yamaha announced today that Monster Energy has signed on for two years as a team sponsor for the Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP team. Reports from European media outlets have stated that the sponsorship deal is worth somewhere in the realm of €4 million (about $5.2 million), although the press release states that the sponsorship is not a title sponsorship, which the team still lacks. The deal also doesn’t affect the title sponsorship of the satellite Monster Tech 3 Yamaha team, nor does it affect Valentino Rossi’s personal sponsorship deal with Monster.
An interesting aspect of this sponsorship was that Lorenzo had recently renewed his personal sponsorship deal with rival energy drink Rockstar back in June of last year. Reportedly worth €1 million to the Spaniard, Spanish website motocuatro.com says that the original intention was for Rossi and Lorenzo to continue with their own personal sponsorships within the team (even though this sounds like it could result in a conflict inside the Yamaha Factory Racing garage, it should be noted that former Yamaha factory rider Ben Spies’ Monster sponsorship ran alongside Lorenzo’s Rockstar livery without issues). However, when Monster inquired about the possibility of going a little further and sponsoring new signee Rossi’s bike, Rockstar swiftly countered with its own proposal to sponsor Lorenzo’s machine.
The concept of having two different co-sponsors on each bike in the Yamaha Factory Racing garage was reportedly taking shape, with the deal said to be worth about €3 million. But then Monster decided at the Valencia race to simply co-sponsor the whole team—in effect, buying out Lorenzo’s Rockstar contract. The story speculates that Monster was fearful of being overshadowed by Rockstar due to Lorenzo’s bike achieving better results than Rossi’s M1—Rossi coming off of two horrendous seasons with Ducati while Lorenzo had just garnered the World Championship—so the company simply moved to enforce a common clause within riders’ contracts that states the team can force a rider to be bought out of a personal contracted sponsor if it conflicts with the team sponsor.
Monster Energy will be sharing fairing space with the Japanese ENEOS oil brand that was signed as a team co-sponsor last year. And while the team still is without a title sponsor, motocuatro.com reports that the approximate total €7 million sponsorship from Monster and ENEOS is the same as Fiat paid when Rossi was with the Yamaha team earlier.