Yamaha has reportedly signed energy drink maker Monster Energy to sponsor its factory MotoGP team, according to Spanish site MotoCuatro.com. The new sponsorship deal created a bit of a problem however, as Yamaha‘s star rider Jorge Lorenzo recently signed a two-year contact extension to his personal sponsorship deal with RockStar, a rival energy drink maker.
To get around this sticky situation, MotoCuatro reports Yamaha will invoke a clause in Lorenzo’s contract allowing the manufacturer to veto and buy out his RockStar contract.
The two energy drinks managed to co-exist within the Yamaha garage this past season. Along with RockStar’s sponsorship of Lorenzo, Monster Energy had a sponsorship agreement with his teammate Ben Spies. The difference next season however is Spies’ replacement, Valentino Rossi.
Despite a disappointing two years with the Ducati team, Rossi remains a highly sought-after target for prospective sponsors. After Rossi signed with Yamaha, the manufacturer reached out to Monster Energy, hoping to expand its role as Rossi’s personal sponsor to sponsoring Rossi’s M1. At the same time, Yamaha and RockStar worked towards a similar arrangement with Lorenzo.
That may appear to be a reasonable compromise, until Monster Energy began to rethink the deal. At this point in their careers, the reigning World Champion Lorenzo is in better position to being competitive again in 2013. Rossi may yet return to his previous form but at the moment, Lorenzo is more likely to have the better season. The people at Monster Energy asked themselves one important question: how would it look if week after week, if the RockStar-sponsored machine outperformed the similarly-specced Monster Energy M1?
According to MotoCuatro, Monster Energy decided to increase its stake by sponsoring the entire Yamaha factory team, thereby pushing out rival RockStar. This required increasing its investment from €1.5 million for Rossi’s M1 to €4 million to sponsor the team. The sponsorship increase includes enough for Yamaha to buy out the remaining two years of Lorenzo’s RockStar deal, reportedly worth about €1 million euros a year.