Playboy to sponsor MotoGP team

LCR Honda RC212V sports bunny ears

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Mar. 27, 2009
LCR Honda has introduced Playboy as its new title sponsor for select races in the 2009 MotoGP season.

The satellite Honda team will have the famous bunny logo on its RC212V prototype bikes during the pre-season test in Jerez, Spain as well as the Japanese and Spanish Grand Prix races. The team will not race its Playboy livery in the season opening race in Qatar to avoid offending the host nation’s Islamic culture.

The sponsorship agreement coincides with the re-launch of Playboy’s Italian edition but team owner Lucio Cecchinello says he will continue discussions to extend the deal through the season with the magazine’s licenses in other countries.

Randy de Puniet gets some last minute training before the final pre-season MotoGP test.LCR Honda rider Randy de Puniet will hit the track in the March 28-29 Jerez test. De Puniet finished 15th in 2008 with five top-ten finishes including a season-best sixth place finish in the U.S. Grand Prix in Laguna Seca. Cecchinello says the team will be better equipped to be competitive in the 2009 season thanks to improved support from Honda including the use of the new pneumatic valve engine.

“It’s clear that 2007 and 2008 for the independent teams were not easy years. Since the 800cc class made its appearance, it has become harder than ever to oppose the performance of the Factory Teams,” says Cecchinello. “Now we are approaching a phase where the Factories can even supply the satellite Teams with the state-of-the-art technologies and this will make us more competitive. In particular, Honda, for the year 2009, has really made a big effort by giving us the same engines as the ones they use, featuring the pneumatic valves technology and all the relevant managing software. Now it’s up to us working hard together with Randy to be ready to battle and, where possible, challenge the Factories riders.”