World Superbike rider Sylvain Guintoli has left the Effenbert Liberty ahead of the team’s home round in Brno, Czech Republic. Guintoli and members of his pit crew walked off the job, reportedly in a dispute over overdue pay cheques.
Liberty Racing initially released a statement calling the crew’s departure as a “defection” born from a “misunderstanding between the mechanics and the administrative management of the team”.
Guintoli meanwhile told his side of the story in a series of tweets on Twitter, saying Liberty Racing failed to fulfill its side of their contract. Collectively, the statement reads:
“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.”
Following Guintoli’s tweets, Liberty Racing released another statement pointing to a lack of results by Guintoli resulting in a drop in investments from sponsors. This claim comes despite the fact Guintoli is the team’s highest-placing rider at eighth overall in the 2012 WSBK championship and the second-highest Ducati rider behind the reigning champion Carlos Checa.
Liberty also claims the relationship was damaged by unprofessional behavior in relation media gossip over internal team problems.
The team’s second statement reads:
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.
[Source: Liberty Racing, Sylvain Guintoli (Twitter)]