WSBK: Sylvain Guintoli & Liberty Racing Part Ways

07/20/2012 @ 3:20 pm, by Jensen Beeler8 COMMENTS

World Superbike in Brno this race-weekend, the home round for the Czech-based Effenbert-Liberty Ducati team. Once again in the spotlight after its dust-up following the Monza round, Effenbert Liberty rider Sylvain Guintoli took to Twitter ahead of WSBK’s stop in Brno, announcing in a string of messages that that Czech team had breached its contract with him by not providing a bike for the Czech round, and as far as the French rider was concerned, the contract had been nullified.

Giving its side of the situation several days later, Liberty Racing first cited an issue with Guintoli’s technical team, but later amended that statement by blaming Guintoli’s lackluster results as the reason for why the French rider had been sacked. This is of course in spite of the fact that Guintoli has been on the podium three times this season so far, including a race win in Holland. Guintoli is currently eighth overall in the Championship, and is the first Liberty Racing rider to have won a race in WSBK.

If this scenario didn’t smell a little bit suspicious already, consider that Effenbert Liberty is said to be sans a hospitality suite this weekend, a peculiar thing considering the home-town venue. Ever since the Monza round where Guintoli sat on pole-position, there has been considerable chatter in the WSBK paddock that Effenbert has begun scaling back its support of the Liberty Racing, which surely is putting a financial pressure on the team.

Liberty Racing, in its amended press release, acknowledges that a lack of return of investment has caused Effenbert to pull support from the team, an issue which was central to the team’s outburst after the Monza round. With clearly internal strife occurring with the team, and seemingly there being an external friction existing with the team’s sponsor, things at Liberty Racing are certainly all but in order. While we will have to wait to see how the rest of the chips fall, one thing is for certain: only two Liberty racing bikes will be racing on Sunday.

Message from Sylvain Guintoli:

Liberty CZ Group had contracted to have Sylvain Guintoli ride for them with the Superbike World Championship 2012, the statement read. 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.

Amended 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 of 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 rationalise 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.

Source: Sylvain Guintoli (Twitter) & Liberty Racing

  • Three podiums including a win and the guy is sacked? That doesn’t sound copacetic on the part of the team and, IMO, blaming the rider for poor performance that results prove to be opposite is egregious and intellectually dishonest behaviour. It really makes Liberty look immature and unprofessional.

  • Westward

    Liberty sacks the best pilot they ever had, how do they think they look in the eyes of the racing public..?

  • RJ

    Sylvain is the best thing thats happened to that team. Then they go and slander said rider like a bunch of little kids?


  • pooch

    dammit. me and the mrs loved shouting ‘GUINTERS!’ when he did something good.

  • Matt

    There’s obviously been a huge investment by Effenbert in Liberty Racing and lack of promised results have now comb back to bite them, but sadly its been their best rider who has been the scapegoat. As the saying goes sh!t runs downhill, but i think its incredibly disingenuous of Liberty to try to justify their failuresby laying the blame at the feet of a rider who has not only been consistent but also put them on the box this season. It seems to me the team has been in a position of over promising and under delivering to its sponsor. Going from a factory supported panigale super stock team to solely a shrinking sbk team and then not being able to stump up the cash for a bike is indicative of this. Sure, I can see how the Monza incident must have annoyed the sponsors to the point of them thinking “why are we getting behind this thing?” but it seems there’s a whole load of toy chucking going on here. Sylvan seems one of the nicest guys in the paddock so I wish Guinters all the best for getting a good ride, either somewhere else in the series or back in MotoGP or BSB.

  • Adam

    It really is too bad for a rider to loose his ride mid season especially when he has been providing results. I wonder how this is all going to play out for that fellow my Canuck Brent, is he going to still have a ride?… I hope so.

  • meatspin

    i think its horrible how this thing went down.

  • Damo

    No idea why they canned their best rider. Odd indeed.