Yamaha Factory Racing was dealt another blow today as Indonesian and Malaysian petroleum giant, Petronas, announced they will not be extending their sponsorship for the 2012 season, following a successful three year partnership that included a two consecutive world championship titles with Valentino Rossi (2009) and Jorge Lorenzo (2010).
Commenting on the conclusion of the three-year partnership, Lin Jarvis, Managing Director of Yamaha Motor Racing said "The relationship between Yamaha and PETRONAS has been a great success, we have enjoyed some major achievements together in the MotoGP class. Now that the partnership has reached its natural conclusion I would like to thank our friends at PETRONAS for the support during their time with us and wish them well for the future".
Mohammad Medan Abdullah, Senior General Manager of PETRONAS Group Corporate Affairs Division: "We are happy to have had this opportunity to work with the Yamaha Factory Racing team over the past three years. In that time, we have enjoyed the benefits of strong brand exposure through the privilege of being associated with a team that shares our values and passion. The team has achieved many successes through a high level of competitiveness and stretched performance standards and we wish the team continued success in the future".
After losing Fiat as a title sponsor in 2011, followed by this more recent conclusion of the Petronas support, the Japanese manufacturer may be expected to shoulder a significant amount of the costs for the 2012 season, a questionable ask when motorcycle sales are down globally and the economic climate is not condusive to supporting an expensive MotoGP racing program.
Only time will tell if the Japanese manufacturer will find a new sponsor for 2012 or if it will aim to finance the bulk of its own racing program, and what that means for Yamaha Factory riders Jorge Lorenzo and Ben Spies.