The Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP Team Launch event took place today at the Four Seasons Hotel Jakarta in Indonesia. Yamaha’s newly named Factory Racing MotoGP team presented its brand-new livery, that reflects Yamaha’s long-term global alliance with the team’s new title sponsor, Monster Energy Company. The multiple year title sponsor agreement was signed last summer and came natural, as Monster Energy sponsors multiple Yamaha teams (the Yamaha Factory Racing MotoGP team since 2013) and riders, including Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales, in various racing classes.
At the start of the event, Yamaha Motor Racing President and Senior General Manager of Motorsports Section, Kouichi Tsuji was was joined on stage by Yamaha Motor Racing Managing Director, Lin Jarvis, and Monster Energy Company’s Vice President of Sports Marketing, Mitch Covington.
Following the introduction speech by Yamaha Executive Officer and Yamaha Indonesia President Minoru Morimoto, the representatives were being interviewed by Lucy Wiryono and Dylan Gray. The management shared their excitement to start this new chapter, as they discussed the team’s dedication towards the 2019 preparations and the new Yamaha structure, with Hiroshi Itou recently joining Motorsport Development Division as General Manager, and Takahiro Sumi becoming the new MotoGP Group Leader.
Valentino Rossi and Maverick Viñales soon joined the talk show. They made clear they can’t wait to get back into action at the 2019 IRTA MotoGP preseason test held in Sepang, Malaysia, in two days’ time.
Valentino is famously Yamaha’s most successful rider. This will be his 14th season with the manufacturer since he first joined the factory team in 2004, and there is no sign of him slowing down. The nine-time World Champion is as eager as ever to score GP victories, as he enters a seventh consecutive year with Yamaha since his return in 2013.
Maverick joined the Factory Yamaha crew in 2017 after gaining two years of experience in the premier class and was quick to make a name for himself. He took third place in the rider standings in his first season with Yamaha. Though the 2018 season proved to be tough, the Spaniard kept his motivation high and won the race at Phillip Island. He finished the season in fourth place overall, 5 points behind his teammate in third position.
Valentino and Maverick presented the 2019 Yamaha YZR-M1. Its colour scheme has completely changed, with the team’s M1 sporting a ‘Monster Energy black’-to-‘Yamaha Factory Racing blue’ gradient.
Valentino Rossi:»The team presentation is always an event that I enjoy. I‘ve taken a bit of time to relax and train these last couple of months, but, like the fans, I‘ve mostly been looking forward to starting the new season. The upcoming test in Sepang is very important, because it‘s the first opportunity for the team to get together to try everything Yamaha has been working on over the winter. Our performance improved towards the end of last season, but we want and need to make some more big steps. I‘m happy that Monster Energy is joining our team in a new role this year. They have been Yamaha‘s and my sponsor for a long time, so we know each other well and we share the same passion for racing. I‘m looking forward to the new season and to riding again, I want to get back aboard my M1! I feel as good and determined as ever, nothing changed in that area, and I believe we can improve upon last year and be back on top.«
Maverick Vinales: »It will be a fresh start for all of us: new title sponsor, new team colours, and for me a new rider number. It all came together very nicely, so now all we have to do is get the preseason underway! The winter months were a good opportunity to prepare for 2019 season. I had some time to relax and reflect, but a good part was spent training, so I’m ready to start riding my M1 again. We ended last year’s season stronger than we started, so it will be important to keep that momentum going as we prepare for the first race in Qatar in April. Our first chance to see where we stand is at the Sepang Test. I’m looking forward to it, because I have high expectations for this year. My motivation hasn’t changed, and I plan on going all out this season.«
Fotos: Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP