MOTOGP News : Suzuki announces Rizla.
Tuesday, 28th February 2006
Team Suzuki MotoGP will have a title sponsor for the first time since Telefonica in 2002 after officially confirming that Rizla has joined forces with the factory team.
Suzuki has agreed a two-year title partnership with the tobacco rolling paper company that will see Paul Denning's outfit renamed 'Rizla Suzuki MotoGP', while riders John Hopkins and Chris Vermeulen will race in the company's distinctive blue colours.
Rizla already has a successful on-going partnership in British Superbike racing with Denning's Crescent Suzuki team and the partnership's expansion onto MotoGP's global stage is seen as 'a natural progression'. Since 2002, the Rizla Suzuki British Superbike team has won more than 30 races in addition to the rider and manufacturer 2004 British Superbike titles.
"This is an exciting and significant step forward for Suzuki in MotoGP and for the Rizla Suzuki partnership," declared Denning. "Rizla is a colourful and exciting brand that fits in well with Suzuki's racing ethos and identity. The added pressure of a sponsor to support Suzuki's racing programme will also bring a welcome impetus to improve performance both on and off the track.
"Suzuki has been working with Rizla since 2002 in the British Championship and we are now very pleased to be extending the association to the worldwide stage in MotoGP. Rizla and Suzuki also have historical links, which include Kevin Schwantz making his Grand Prix debut aboard a Rizla-backed RG500.
"Our dynamic and ambitious 2006 racers take to the track aiming to replicate the level of excitement and success that developed from there. I know that with the dedication and commitment of Suzuki and the support of Rizla and everybody involved, we can now take the team to a much-improved level throughout 2006."
"We have decided to compliment (the BSB) initiative and roll out our successful partnership with motorcycle racing and Suzuki at the very pinnacle of its sport – MotoGP," added Graham Blashill, Rizla Group sales and marketing director. "We are looking forward to the 2006 season and working with Suzuki over the next couple of years as they strive to get back to winning ways."
The new-look team will be unveiled at the Official MotoGP Test at Catalunya on March 2nd - 4th, shortly before the team's race debut in Jerez on Sunday March 26th.