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MOTOGP SPONSOR MYSTERY DEEPENS

Former Aspar Honda MotoGP team sponsor, Drive M7, issued a press release at the Qatar MotoGP to clarify the circumstances surrounding its abrupt withdrawal.

According to the Malaysian energy drink manufacturer, which supported Jorge Martinez’s Aspar squad last year to the tune of £1.3m, it was served with a cease-and-desist writ in June 2014 — claiming that Drive branding constituted a trademark infringement in the European countries hosting 11 of MotoGP’s 18 rounds.

Drive says Aspar subsequently gave an assurance that its lawyers would attend to this issue, so their sponsorship agreement ran to the season’s end. Negotiations for 2015, with riders Eugene Laverty and Nicky Hayden, then took place until Drive realised the legal threat hadn’t been dealt with, at which point it pulled out.

Everybody involved is now apparently set to sue each other.

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