Yamaha racing boss Lin Jarvis insists he is not concerned that the team will start its MotoGP championship defense without a title sponsor. The squad unveiled its definitive 2011 livery today, and with the loss of previous main backer Fiat, the bikes will run in Yamaha's corporate blue colors.
Fiat had been the works Yamaha team's title sponsor since 2007, but departed when Valentino Rossi left the team at the end of last year. Cigarette manufacturer Gauloises had sponsored Yamaha prior to the switch to Fiat.
"Obviously it's a pity that Fiat is not with us this year as we had four fantastic seasons together. I think they were probably the most successful title sponsor ever in the sport; four seasons, three championships and three 'triple crowns'," said Jarvis. "They have now changed their communications strategy and along with the departure of Valentino we have seen a shift in our focus area toward sponsorship, having been primarily Italian based in the past."
He admitted that Yamaha had hunted for new sponsorship but drawn a blank, though he insisted this was not a "negative" situation.
"We've been talking to several potential sponsors and partners in Asia and in Spain but finally we haven't been able to find anything that will work well for us at present," Jarvis said. "As a result we will start the season in blue which is quite appropriate as we are celebrating our 50th anniversary so it's fitting we begin in our corporate colors.
"There's no negative consequence of this situation, it actually gives us freedom to do some extra special things in our 50th year."
Jarvis confirmed that Yamaha's future preference was to find a proper replacement for Fiat.
"For the future we would welcome any new partner to get involved with us and we are open to changes," he said.
Yamaha is the only factory MotoGP team without a primary sponsor, with Honda, Ducati and Suzuki continuing their long relationships with Repsol, Philip Morris and Rizla, respectively.