(Reuters) - An Italian watch company that sponsors Spanish rider Jorge Lorenzo is to quit MotoGP as a result of a bitter controversy that has hit the title hopes of Yamaha team mate Valentino Rossi.
Italian Rossi leads championship rival Lorenzo by seven points ahead of Sunday’s finale in Valencia but has been sent to the back of the grid after clashing with Spaniard Marc Marquez in Malaysia.
Lorenzo has most to gain from Rossi’s penalty and submitted a written statement to the Court of Arbitration for Sport that ruled on Thursday against the Italian’s appeal for a stay of execution.
The controversy has caused huge ructions in Spain and Italy, where Rossi is one of the most popular and high profile sportsmen.
Watch company Sector No Limits said in a statement that its brand values had always been “sportsmanship, challenge, healthy competition and integrity”.
The firm added that it had decided to leave MotoGP at the end of the season because it “could not identify with the events of recent weeks in the world championship”.
Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Tony Jimenez