Armchair Experts Guide to MotoGP and WSBK sponsors
Do you have to suffer in silence watching MotoGP or World Supers, because some know-it-all can spout facts and race figures about each rider?
After reading this article, your motorcycle racing ignorance will be unimportant, as you become a savant of sponsor information!
World level motorcycle racing has large sponsors, mainly based in Europe. Down here in Aussie, we don’t have a lot of exposure to the non English speaking major companies. So, we present the following:
Aussie Guide to “Motorcycle Racing Sponsors You have No Idea About”
Firstly, let’s assume we can get a few obvious ones out of the way.
Rizla: Rollie Papers.
Red Bull: Energy Drink.
Monster: Same (well, not the same, but you know what we mean).
Ducati: If you dont know this, please stop reading now.
Now here’s a few sponsors that you may not have any idea about, or perhaps you have the wrong idea. Please don’t use this list to create a business proposal or Phd thesis, it’s a combination of fact, guesswork and Wikipedia.
Hanspree -Ten Kate Honda World Superbike and Supersport.
What you thought: German, hands free mobile phone kits.
What they are: Taiwanese – LCD televisions and monitors, parent company is the Hanns group, who manufacture flat panel LCD screens and whose customers include SONY, JVC, Panasonic, Sharp,Toshiba, DELL and HP. (Side thought – I wonder how many proud CBR600RR Hannspree replica owners realise they are a travelling billboard for a Chinese TV company?)
Repsol – Honda MotoGP – Pedrosa and Dovizioso
What you thought: Oil.
What they are: Repsol (Refineria de Petróleos de Escombreras Oil) is a Spanish oil and Gas company. They are the 15th largest petrol refining company in the world with a turnover of over 70 billion dollars.
Repsol has extensive assets in Argentina, and have recently invested over 1 billion dollars in Iran. Included in their product list is Oil, Petrol, LNG, Asphalts, Car Care products and Aviation Products. They also have various service station chains, marine and trucking terminal businesses.
Sterilgarda Yamaha -World Superbike – James Toseland and Cal Crutchlow.
What you thought: A sterile mouthguard for soccer players.
What they are: Italian food company, mainly milk, milk products and other beverages it seems.
Fiat Yamaha – MotoGP -Valentino Rossi and Jorge Lorenzo .
What you thought: A car company.
What they are: Originally an Italian car company started in 1899, FIAT stands for “Fabbrica Italiana Automobili Torino” (English: Italian Automobile Factory of Turin) These days the FIAT group is Italy’s largest industrial company, with car brands Fiat, Ferrari and Maserati , trucks including Iveco, and components, planes, aeroplanes, publishing, ski resorts, construction etc.
Fiat is also the second largest agricultural equipment manufacturer in the world with brands including Case and New Holland. Employs over 220,000 people and had revenues last year over 50 billion euros (72 billion Aussie dollars).
Interwetten Honda – MotoGP team with riders Hiroshi Aoyama and currently Alex de Angelis.
What you thought: International bottled water company.
What they are: An online sports betting company, based in Vienna, Austria .They boast of over one million customers in more than 100 countries.
Páginas Amarillas Aspar – Héctor Barberá – MotoGP
What you thought: Some kind of South American Cartel.
What they are: Paginas Amarillas is “Yellow Pages” in Spanish. The Aspar part of the team name is the nickname of team owner Jorge Martínez. So let’s deduce from all this, that “Aspar” (Jorge) is sponsored by Yellow Pages in Spain. My lack of Spanish prevents me from emphatically stating this. Best left for after a few drinks. Team Aspar also field the Bancaja Aspar bike of Bradley Smith in the 125cc class. Yes, Bancaja is a Spanish bank.
Alice – Used to sponsor Ducati MotoGP
What you thought: Some kind of women’s cigarettes from Europe.
What they are: Alice is a high speed internet brand of Telecom Italia, Italy’s version of Telstra. For Alice, imagine Bigpond, but run by Italians.
San Carlo Gresini – Marco Simoncelli MotoGP, well known for his big hair.
What you thought: A Spanish Bank, named after Saint Charles .
What they are: An Italian potato chip manufacturer. They also offer pretzels and varous bread products. The team has the Gresini name after team owner Fausto Gresini. The Gresini team is also remembered for being both the team Sete Gibernau – and tragically – Daijiro Kato rode for.
Pramac – Ducati MotoGP team – Mika Kalio and Aleix Espargaro.
What you thought: A privateer Ducati race team.
What they are: Pramac is an Italian company specialising in power generation. Portable generators, high pressure washers and pumps, along with welding generators and lighting equipment.
Alstare Suzuki – Leon Haslam and Sylvain Guintoli – World Superbike.
What you thought: A Spanish TV channel
What they are: This one has got us stumped. Alstare is the name of Francis Batta’s team, headquartered in Belgium in a converted marmalade factory. (You couldn’t make this up!). What the name means, if anything, I’m not sure. If anyone does, please let us know. All Stars maybe? Interestingly, Francis Batta is not an ex Superbike or MotoGP rider, he got his start in the industry providing hospitality to Kevin Schwantz’s GP team in the ’80s. Alstare is also known for the Corona race replica paint schemes found on some GSX-R Suzuki’s through the 90s.
That covers most of the major ones that us Australians might be in the dark about. Of course there are plenty more. Hopefully now you can settle into watching the next GP with an air of smug confidence.
Let us know in the comments below how far off the mark you were.