The last time we heard about the Effenbert Liberty team was last November when it was rumored that the Czech based team was working on making a comeback to the World Superbike championship - after all their 2012 ups and down - retaining their last rider Brett McCormick (they fired Sylvain Guintoli, Jakub Smrz and Maxime Berger during the last part of the season) fielding him on BMW machinery.
Now the latest rumor is coming from speedweek.de who is reporting that Mario Bertuccio’s team will be returning - seemingly without the backing of Effenbert - and will be fielding instead of McCormick, 31-year-old veteran rider Lorenzo Lanzi who replaced axed Jakub Smrz at the Nurburgring and Portimao rounds.
The team is said to be starting the season from the second round at Aragon on April 14th, although at the moment it is unclear whether Lanzi will competing in the entire championship or if the team will take part only in European rounds, and it seems that Liberty Racing will not be receiving their bike from BMW Italia, but will be rolling out a BMW S1000RR that was used during the 2012 Italian Superbike championship.
If Liberty Racing does return it could bring the grid number up to 18 or even 19 as HTM Racing’s Ivan Clementi is currently testing at Jerez with the other SBK teams - however the official 2013 entry list has yet to be confirmed.
If it was any other team announcing they won’t be taking part in the final round of the World Superbike season at Magny Cours this upcoming weekend, we’d probably be saying what a pity, that’s a shame, but since the rumor involves Effenbert Liberty Racing, it just seems a foregone conclusion that the team would finally fizzle out and fold, despite promises to finish the season.
After starting the 2012 championship fielding four riders, Sylvain Guintoli, Jakub Smrz, Maxime Berger and Brett McCormick, the Italo-Czech team started coming apart at the seams halfway through the season.
Sylvain Guintoli left - supposedly he hadn’t been been paid - and they turned around and accused him of poor results. They skipped the Moscow round to undergo a complete reorganization process which involved Smrz getting canned and replaced by Lorenzo Lanzi, but the Czech rider became of victim of ‘vicissitudes of contractual nature’. It was then Maxime Berger’s turn over ‘breach of contract’ and now poor Brett McCormick who suffered a terrible injury at Assen and at Portimao scored an excellent 5th place in Race 1 will not even get the chance to finish the season.
Just hours before the start of Friday’s World Superbike practice for the penultimate round of the season at Portimao, Effenbert Liberty Racing has decided to axe another rider from their line-up, and this time it is Maxime Berger.
After Sylvain Guintoli, who quit before the Brno round because he wasn’t being paid (the team’s reason was he was underperforming) and Jakub Smrz who was let go before Nurburgring due to the team’s “reorganisation of its human, technical and logistical resources” while the French rider was let go for a “breach of contract.”
Liberty Racing will be at Portimao only with Lorenzo Lanzi and Brett McCormick, and considering the trend that the team has, will there will be another head falling ahead of Magny Cours and with all this ‘reorganization process’ going on will the team be actually be back on the grid in 2013?
Liberty Racing press release which was probably translated from Italian to English using Google:
The British would say “that’s racing” to indicate the various hardships that have affected in a non-positive way the Liberty Racing. We wish to simplify by saying that this is a year born under an unlucky star. Of course, the regret is quite strong considering the hopeful performance of 2011 and the pretty good start of this year.
This summer first Sylvain Guintoli then Kuba Smrž took other roads due to various vicissitudes of contractual nature nevertheless racing results not so good as the team expected. Now, with regret, we inform you that Maxime Berger at Portimao will not be deployed by the Liberty Racing team on the basis of breach of contract by the French. The Liberty Racing Team once again has confirmed Brett McCormick and the Italian rider Lorenzo Lanzi, showing that the squad is more alive than ever, glancing at the next season.
Yesterday in passing we mentioned that Effenbert Liberty racing team would not be taking part in next week’s upcoming round at Moscow because they couldn’t afford the long haul to the new Russian circuit, and today the Italian-Czech team has officially confirmed that they will be skipping the 11th round of the season.
The team has however confirmed that they will return for the final three events of the championship and will start a ‘constructive reorganisation of its human, technical and logistical resources for the next racing season’.
Liberty Racing bit off more than they could actually chew this 2012 season, ambitiously beginning with wanting to field a three-rider team in Superbikes and two-rider team in Superstock, but before the championship started they dropped their Superstock team leaving Federico Sandi without a ride and promoting Brett McCormick to an even bigger Superbike line-up.
Just two weeks ago Brett McCormick said he would be targeting a return for the 10th round of the World Superbike championship at Silverstone, and the Canadian has now confirmed that he is 100% fit and will be riding this weekend in Great Britain (strangely his name is no longer listed in 2012 rider roster on the official SBK page).
McCormick crashed during race at Assen and suffered a fractured vertebra and has been recovering from his serious injuries since April, but when he returns to action he’ll no longer find former team mate Sylvain Guintoli, as Liberty Racing released the French rider (and then weirdly criticized him for lack of performance) after suffering some budget setbacks. Guintoli will now be riding for Pata Racing.
Just an off note on Liberty Racing, according to Italian journalist, Gianluigi Ragno aka MisterHelmet has a video on Youtube where he states that he was threatened by several of the team’s mechanics during the Brno round for publishing the story of the team’s problems more than a week before the story actually broke.
Instead, here is what McCormick had to say:
It has been tough to sit out for this much of the season. Obviously with such a serious injury you don’t have a choice, but it’s still really hard to sit at home on the couch and watch the races from the sidelines. It got a lot more difficult once I was healed enough to move around and start being active because you are always anxious to come back earlier than you should. The last few weeks have been awesome though! I was able to start riding my motocross bike and train a lot harder, so I’m really hungry to get back on the track now.
After their brief press release issued this afternoon regarding Sylvain Guintolileaving their team, Liberty Racing has decided to put an entirely different spin to the story and from a “misunderstanding between the mechanics and the administrative management of the team” (the mechanics haven’t been paid for several months) have gone ballistic and now are criticizing the French rider because of his lack of results that caused a “subsequent reduction of investments by the sponsor.”
Guintoli is the Liberty rider that gave the team their first victory in World Superbikes by winning Race 1 at Assen this year and he took a second place at race 2, always at Assen and a third place at Phillip Island, and a Superpole at Monza and he is/was currently 8th in the standings with 110 points, and compare it to Czech team mate Jakub Smrz who is in 11th place and no podiums and Maxime Berger in 15th - Brett McCormick has been out of action since Assen.
Check out this newest and may we say controversial press release from Liberty Racing:
The Liberty Racing Team, considering what happened in the last hours, wishes to clarify its position and the factors that influenced the events that led to the end the collaboration with the rider Sylvain Guintoli:
- First of all, the poor results achieved by the rider, for sure inappropriate in relation to the massive investments, technical equipment and human efforts offered to him, and the relative lack of media return to the main sponsor, created a subsequent reduction of investments by the same sponsor as already shown in the past;
- For Liberty CZ Group is very important to rationalize the costs in order to defend the continuity of the team’s life, considering also the temporary period of global crisis, which has raised the alert level of the company in the recent past;
-The technical staff decided to take a tough stance in this moment of nervous strain created by misunderstandings with the administrative direction of the group;
- Detection of superficiality and lightness in the management of the internal team problems, with unnecessary use of media gossip, this is a not professional behavior, that damaged the trust relationship built into several months of collaboration;
- The team will still give space and continuity to the young riders, a company policy much more in line with the development of the Effenbert brand.
The Liberty Racing Team, like clear expressed before, shows his regret for what happened, according to the choice made by the rider and the technical staff, confirms its will to continue in the future with the constructive purpose that has always distinguished the Liberty Racing Team.
The team would like to make its best wishes to Sylvain Guintoli and all technical staff for their respective careers.
We already posted the rumors after the WSBK Aragon round earlier this month, that there was a a lot of tension between Sylvain Guintoli and his Effenbert Liberty Racing team and that his pit crew had been axed after the Spanish round and it was unsure if the Frenchman would be at Brno this weekend, and now Guintoli has officially confirmed that he has split with the Italian -Czech team because Liberty has been unable to fullfil their side of the contract (read money).
“Liberty CZ Group had contracted to have Sylvain Guintoli ride for them with the Superbike World Championship 2012. Liberty have confirmed they are unable to provide a bike for Sylvain Guintoli to race at Brno and potentially in the future. Due to this and a failure of Liberty to fulfil other key aspects of the contract, there has been no option but for Sylvain to accept that the contract has to be terminated and notice has formally been given to Liberty that the contract is terminated immediately. Sylvain Guintoli, who had fulfilled all of his obligations is disappointed with Liberty’s difficulties and their inability to provide a bike for him at Brno but is now free to take up other rides with immediate effect.”
This will leave Liberty with just one rider this Czech weekend, Jakub Smrz (it’s his home race) and Maxime Berger, as injured Brett McCormick is expected to make his comeback for the Silverstone round, but there are rumors from the paddock that the rest of the team could skip the round.
Just to add another rumor to the mill, it looks like Liberty Racing is going to dump Ducati next season and are looking at Aprilia or BMW as their weapon of choice in 2013. Borgo Panigale seems to be having trouble keeping their clients as more rumors are saying that MotoGP teams Pramac and Cardion AB are also going to drop the Italian manufacturer.
Liberty Racing has released their own statement confirming that Sylavin Guintoli has left, but they are placing the blame on a disagreement between the French rider’s pit crew and the management that left him without technical support.
“The Liberty Racing Team would like to inform with regret that despite its will, an unsolvable break born from a misunderstanding between the mechanics and the administrative management of the team, revealed a bitter surprise at the arrival to the Brno Circuit. In fact several men of the technical crew have decided not to participate to the Czech Republic Grand Prix and to the rest of the championship. This defection sadly involves the French Rider Sylvain Guintoli who, without the technical support, does not take part to the race that is held in Brno this weekend.”
Source | bikesportnews-com
The 30-year old French rider is currently 8th in the World Superbike standings with 110 points that includes a win in race 1 at Assen, three podiums and a pole position so far this season, but apparently the team is not that happy with his results so far (even reigning World Champion Carlos Checa hasn’t been up to par with his Ducati) and even worse it seems that Guintoli’s pit crew has been axed.
The rider will be at next weekend’s Brno round (July 20-22) - the home race for the Czech team - but at the moment it is unknown how this difficult situation will pan out betwen Guintoli and Mario Bertuccio.
Brett McCormick will be at Miller Motorsports this weekend for the latest Superbike round, but he’ll be there only as a spectator, as the Liberty Racing rider is still recovering from his Assen crash where he sustained multiple injuries, including a facture to his C5 vertebrae.
The Canadian in late April, speaking from his hospital bed in Assen had targeted a return in August and that date seems to be still in his sights.
“With a broken neck it’s tough to judge the healing time because every case is so different. I’ve been getting check-ups every week and I’m healing up really good. I hope to get the brace off in a couple of weeks from now, and after that hopefully I’ll be able to race within a month. I could be back by the end of July if everything goes perfectly, but I think August is more realistic. When I come back as long as physically I am back to normal, I’d like to pick up where I left off and keep working our way towards the front. In Assen I was getting closer to the top 10, so hopefully I can pick up from there once I’m back.”
McCormick, as many may remember was forced onto astroturf during a damp Race 2, when Carlos Checa overtook him trying to regain positions after having had pitted due to a wrong tire choice.
Following their controversial post-Monza press release and then continuing their protest at the Donington Park round without their hospitality, World Superbike Liberty Racing team who previous said that they would continue in the championship has decided to officially kiss and make-up with Infront.
Liberty Racing apparently appreciates the effort of the promoter who with the Autodromo Nazionale di Monza have decided to let those fans who kept their Monza tickets to return next year for free, and in turn Infront will allow the team to continue only with three riders and they will not have to replace injured Brett McCormick.
The symbolic olive branch press release after the jump.