One-off MotoGP liveries are still the height of cool in the paddock. From the extremely memorable Assen 2007 paintscheme adorned by Valentino Rossi to the latest Petronas Yamaha livery for the team’s home race in 2019, they’re still a very human part of a sponsor dominated sport.
A lot of the time, the home race for a rider or team is a great excuse to pull out the paintbrushes and create something special a la Jack Miller at Philip Island 2019, with the full knight in shining armour livery getting Miller even more attention than usual and causing Pramac Ducati to trend around the world. When he got a podium using it, the Factory Ducati team was largely left in the shadows of the attention and the sponsor airtime was huge for the Pramac squad, meaning there literally was no downside for rider or team.
Other times are to showcase an anniversary of something, like the Honda Moto3 effort at Assen which took inspiration from the colours of the first ever Honda race bike that had come 60 years earlier. It looked fantastic but the results did not match the look with the team finishing off the podium. This was a pure indulgence for Honda, with the look being super clean and almost sponsorless.
The third way is sponsor dictated, much like the Assen colourscheme of the Factory Yamaha team in 2007 to sell the newly released Fiat 500. These are usually the brightest and most eye catching liveries as they’re actually designed to sell something, usually of the sponsor’s choice.
But why are they so cool? What makes them so special? Is it the exclusivity or them, knowing they will not be seen again, or is it the gravitas of the event that causes them? Whatever it is, the emotion they cause is worth it alone.
Featured image- www.motogp.com