In, Out, In, Out: Effenbert Liberty Withdraw From WSBK, Again

The Liberty Racing team has today announced they will be withdrawing from the World Superbike championship. The announcement is hardly a surprise: the Liberty team announced their withdrawal last year after the Silverstone round, missing the final four rounds of the series. The team had not fared much better in 2013, making a late start and missing the first round of the championship in Phillip Island. Now, after just three races, they have pulled out once again.

The withdrawal of the Liberty Racing team leaves Mark Aitchison without a ride for the rest of the season, after the Australian agreed a late deal to ride for the team. It also leaves the World Superbike field looking very sparse, with just 18 full-time entries left on the grid. The World Superbike grid weathered the first storms of the global financial crisis relatively well, due to lower costs of competition, but poor TV coverage of the series for the past few seasons has seen numbers dropping season by season, with the 18-bike grid the result. Dorna and the MSMA hope that the new rules discussed recentlly, limiting the cost of a bike to 300,000 euros per rider per season, will help make the series more affordable, and help swell numbers on the grid.

Below is the official press release issued by Liberty Racing on their withdrawal:

The LIBERTY RACING TEAM EFFENBERT thanks Dorna WSBK Organization Srl that allowed to the team to be present at the start to the 2013 season, and try to recover the substantial value of the investment in marketing and promotional activities carried out in the Superbike World Championship from 2008 until today , first in sponsorships and then with direct participation.

Whereas, as noted, the main goal of our team is the use of racing according to the parameters necessary for the promotion of the brand of our main sponsor and our other partners, we have found, on our opinion, some difficulties during these races in pursuing this targets.

Anyway, we believe that the continuation of the adventure of the team in the WSBK 2013 is not of our further interest , as the sponsors and partners have decided to direct the promotional investment in other channels at this time achieve the value economic effort / visibility more appropriate to the volume of investments.

In the next days will be communicated in detail the operational programs. The Team takes this opportunity to thank publicly all those who have shared this adventure and all those who have spoken and written of us, whether good or bad.

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... all this half arsed attempts.

They need to make a plan and stick to it. If they can't do the job for the full year them don't bother.

It's will however be a shame to lose (another ) sponsorship deal.

Good luck to Aitchy.

I just read an article in AMCN by Mark Aitchison, who was clearly excited to be riding for them this year after a late signup with the team. He wrote that he had assurances from the new manager that this was to be a long-term project, and then they go and withdraw from WSBK after only a few races, without even mentioning the rider in the press release.

Class. Pure class.

If they come back next year you'd have to be desperate to sign up with them, wouldn't you?

Indeed few tv stations broadcast Superbikes, which is a real shame, given the brilliant racing in just about every weekend, every year again. At least I can watch it all as Eurosport is still covering all the superbike and supersport races, most of them even live. But unfortunately not everybody has Eurosport, especially overseas of course.

Why is there still no live internet stream on the official Superbike website? They have the footage, so what is keeping them? I would expect there to be a similar feature as on, especially now that Dorna owns Superbikes as well. Is that another tell-tale sign that Dorna just wants to disable a competing, more exciting racing series..?

Please, it is such awesome racing, seeing all the road-derived superbikes battle it out against eachother, with recognisable but highly tuned green Kawasakis, black/red Aprilias, red Ducatis, blue/white Suzukis, BMW's and so on.

Dorna has 0 to do with WSBK and the lack of online streaming. I was told that it is available, just not in the states. Prior to Dorna taking over the series, this was the case as in the US, Speed TV, had a clause that if they air the broadcasts (IE pay infront for the rights) that WSBK would not offer an online package in the United States. Speed knows how many folks turn their shit channel off and paid for subscriptions and didn't want this extending to WSBK.

What these people don't understand, at least in the US, is that motorcycle racing is a niche sport and will remain that way. They can market, advertise, do a dance in the street, pray to Greek Gods, it is not going to change. What they should do is cater to the small but loyal following they do have by offering up full practice/qualifying, interviews, etc. Instead they shove that aside grasping for more money, always, and it has bitten them hard over the last decade. The TV people seem to think if they can change this or go into a new direction, that miraculously it's going to change and they are going to gain a bunch of new viewers. That isn't going to happen, at least in the #'s they want.

Can't see any faciltiy for live streaming on WSBK site, so no, doesn't look like they do that at all.

It's Eurosport only here, long may it continue, although I'm concerned after they torpedoed MotoGP in the UK from next year.

I won't start on that again...

Sorry it ain't easy to view in the States, its a great series.