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The factory Yamaha MotoGP team has presented an all-new livery for the 2019 version of its YZR-M1 bike.
The new M1, which will be campaigned by seven-time premier-class champion Valentino Rossi and Yamaha’s most recent grand prix winner Maverick Vinales, will carry a striped black and blue colour scheme.
This marks a departure from the primarily blue liveries of recent seasons, and is prompted by energy drink giant Monster replacing Spanish telecommunications company Movistar as Yamaha’s title sponsor.
“We’re kicking off here in a very positive way,” Yamaha managing director Lin Jarvis said at the season launch in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“I think the merging of these two brands [Yamaha and Monster] brings a new energy to the project.
“We like a lot the colour of the bike, the design, it’s more aggressive – and I think that’s what we need to be.”
Rossi added: “I like it very much – Yamaha is always blue, and the blue of the Yamaha is beautiful, but I like the black of Monster because [the combination is] the colour of my soccer team, Inter, so I feel comfortable.”
Monster was already backing both Vinales and Rossi before the change, and also served as the title sponsor for Yamaha’s satellite team Tech3 before the French outfit switched to the KTM camp in the off-season.
“I’m excited that we’ve been able to step up and expand our visibility as the title sponsor of the Monster Energy Yamaha MotoGP team,” said Monster chairman and CEO Rodney Sacks.
“Vale and Maverick will be piloting what we think is the best-looking bike on the grid.”
The works Yamaha team will look to rebound from a disappointing 2018, which marked its longest-ever win drought in the category before Vinales snapped the streak at Phillip Island.
The underwhelming campaign led to the departure of Yamaha’s MotoGP project leader Kouji Tsuya, who has been replaced by former head of chassis division Takahiro Sumi in the off-season.
Vinales and Rossi, who are both signed with Yamaha through 2020, will make their debuts riding the new M1 in the first pre-season test at Sepang on February 6-8.
“I can’t wait to start, the holidays were already too long,” Vinales said. “I would like to be on the bike.
“I’m really curious to see the steps forward we did, and see if we can push the bike at the maximum already in the first test.”