There can be little doubt MotoGP is an international, super popular marketing platform. Sports sponsorship agencies and marketing people have heavily relied on the premier class of two-wheel racing when it was time to put together the world’s top brands and large, transversal audiences. The thrill of high-speed racing, the cutting edge technology, the excitement of first-class competition all create the perfect environment for brands of all size from all industries.
For some companies, the MotoGP World Championship has been a proper trampoline to global recognition. Think energy drink powerhouse Monster, for example, whose efforts in the pinnacle of two wheels -alongside a brave, in-your-face marketing strategy- have brought international status. Or think Italian power generator manufacturer Pramac, who have seen their name put on the map thanks to their long standing partnership with Ducati satellite team.
It’s impossible to create a full list of those companies that took great advantage thanks to their MotoGP sponsorships, from tobacco companies in the 90’s up to today’s crypto brands, there’s just too many. We will mention ten of them: companies who have made it into the hall of fame of international sports marketing thanks to well-designed programs and well-run activations.
We will leave the manufacturers’ names out of the exercise, even though MotoGP is the poster boy for each and every bike maker that takes to the track. Ducati, Honda, Yamaha and the other guys know very well what it means to be a World Champion, both from a marketing and a sales perspective: it’s no surprise their top-of-the-line products are almost exact replicas of the bikes Marquez, Rossi and Bagnaia ride weekend in and weekend out.
But let’s cut to the chase and be a good sports marketing agency blog, shall we? Here’s the list of the 10 top most famous brands in MotoGP racing.
1 – Red Bull
It’s hard to think of modern motorsport without picturing the Red Bull logo. Marketing extraordinaire Dietrich Mateschitz knows well what happens when a brand is associated with an exciting, thrilling and inspiring sport discipline. And there’s nothing more thrilling and exciting than a bunch of boys racing 300hp motorcycles at 350kmh, right. Red Bull is everywhere, from the riders to the teams, from the circuits to the fan zones.
2 – Monster Energy
Monster Energy arrived a little late at the energy drink party but nonetheless were quick to understand who was running shop and how. They somehow copy-pasted Red Bull’s strategy but added a little pizzaz, in the form of the loudest parties, the most colorful graphics and prettiest girls. It’s not just a front, though and Monster signed top-tier riders such as Valentino Rossi and built excellent programs around them. Their finishing touch was the main sponsorship of Yamaha factory Racing and Suzuki. And voilà. Who you calling little brother now?
3 – VR46
We all know, the man’s bigger than the sport. Valentino Rossi is not only motorcycle racing’s top name, but he also took advantage of his pedigree to build a robust, interesting brand. Today, VR46 provide clothing and apparel for several riders, with on-track and off-track operations, and run an excellent program for young riders across the three classes.
4 – Pramac
Pramac have made their international fortune thanks to MotoGP racing. The company, a leader in power generators manufacturing, have always been excellent in their field but -due to the nature of their business- not exactly under the global limelight. In 2002 Pramac decided it was about time to go racing and have been in the premier class ever since. Today, the Team is equipped with Ducati bikes and as we speak sits fourth in the riders’ championship with Johann Zarco: the white and red logo certainly did not go AWOL.
5 – Repsol
Oil and lubricants matador Repsol and the HRC Team have the longest partnership in MotoGP, running strong for 26 years. That should suffice in clarifying how effective and well-designed that sponsorship is. Thanks to the Honda Racing Corporation, Repsol have enjoyed notable success along the years, with a stellar lineup of riders like Valentino Rossi, Mick Doohan, Marc Marquez, Nicky Hayden and Casey Stoner just to name a few. On the other hand, Honda could count on a top-tier partner in Repsol, supplying cash aplenty but also important R&D in the field of fuel and engine lubricants. So if you’ve ever seen a racing bike before, chances are it was orange white and blue.
6 – Alpinestars
Alpinestars are one of racing’s top brand both for casual clothing and technical apparel. Hailing from Asolo, Italy the company was founded in 1963 and have been supplying all kinds of gear to Formula 1, MotoGP, Motocross, NASCAR and rally since day one. Alpinestars know that there’s no greater endorsement than the track: if it’s good for Marc Marquez then it must also be good for casual Jonny riding his way to work every morning.
7 – Michelin
Clemont-Ferrand’s finest are one of MotoGP’s top names, not only because they are the official tyre supplier for the series, but also courtesy of a well-designed marketing strategy. Michelin’s signature branding, with the yellow-and-blue background and their worldwide famous mascot Bibendum just won’t go unnoticed and is frequently seen trackside and -of course- on every single motorcycle fairing.
8 – Oakley
Quick, think: sport sunglasses. You’re right, Oakley. In the adrenaline-filled moments before the lights go off, riders are often pictured on top of their motorcycles with a pair of fancy looking sunglasses. Shiny, hi-tech and colorful, Oakley glasses have always been the go-to-guy for athletes, riders and sports people. The Foothill, CA company have invested zillions in R&D to create top-of-the-shelf lenses and frames to the exact specifications of champions and sport legends. Now their name can be seen on several MotoGP bikes and some guys, like Valentino and Marc, also have their own series.
9 – Motul
Motul is that silent, quiet guy that somehow somewhat always gets the job done. The frenchmen are far from flamboyant marketing strategies and like their branding nice, robust and clean. Nonetheless, their presence in the top series of motorcycle racing has been constant and precise, with a very careful mix of official sponsorships, event sponsorships and team partnerships. In the heavily crowded industry of lubricants, Motul have carved their space out with grace and intelligence and are without a shadow of a doubt one of MotoGP’s top sponsors. Bravo.
10 – SKY
Italian broadcaster SKY (or, shall we say, the italian branch of the international broadcaster) have been heavily involved in motorcycle racing since the early 2010s. In Italy, Sky have their own MotoGP TV channel and, on track, are one of the few broadcasters to sport their own technical truck with commentary booth. Leveraging on the success of the sport, the company also decided to back Valentino Rossi’s Riders Academy and several teams across the three classes.