Sylvain Guintoli abruptly announced his resignation from the Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducati team effective this morning on the eve of the Brno, Czech Republic round of the World Superbike Championship. This occurred after his team mechanics failed to show up at the circuit in protest of what is reported to be non-payment of wages, resulting in the team not having a bike for Guintoli to ride this weekend. There are rumors that Guintoli himself has not been paid either, adding fuel to speculation that the team is undergoing some financial difficulties, despite having a major presence in the WSBK series, with three WSBK riders, two FIM Superstock riders, and the largest hospitality unit in the paddock.
Guintoli wrote on his Twitter account that, “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.”
The Effenbert-Liberty Racing Ducati team responded with its own press release shortly thereafter. “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.”
Guintoli has been the team’s most successful rider, winning the team’s first ever WSBK race at Assen, in addition to numerous podium finishes that have the Frenchman sitting in ninth place in the championship. The Liberty Racing team’s main sponsor Effenbert Beer reportedly was furious with the proceedings at the Monza round, where the first race was canceled, and then the second race called after just eight laps due to rain and difficulty with the Pirelli rain tires’ ability to withstand the ultra-high average speeds of the Italian circuit. The team threatened to pull out of rest of the championship until some talks between WSBK organizers and the team principals smoothed things over.