WSBK: Silly Season -- Smrz Signs with "New" Ducati Team

The Liberty CZ Group has simultaneously announced the formation of a new satellite Ducati team that will compete in the World Superbike series in 2011 and the signing of Czech Jakob Smrz to be it's rider for the next 2 years. Smrz, who was thought to have been on the shopping lists of a myriad of teams, has the reputation as a good qualifier that hasn't been able to back up his grid placements with consistent race results.

Liberty CZ Group's business interests include, fittingly enough, a chain of Italian food stores in the Czech Republic and Effenberg Beer, who is a partial sponsor of Smrz' current team, B&G Pata. The new team, "Liberty Racing", will reportedly be headquartered in Prague. Although the team is touted as all new, there are familiar faces behind the scenes, including Natale Egi, who managed the Sterilgarda Ducati team that fielded Max Biaggi and Ruben Xaus.

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Interesting that the Team has chosen the end of life Ducati over the start of cycle Aprilia they changed to this year.

Is this a reflection of the level of support they thought they would get from Aprilia but have not? Or has Smrz simply not gelled with the RSV4? A little early to condemn the change of machinery I would've thought.

Perhaps Liberty CZ will be the privateer Ducati team with the most factory support.

There will probably be a few more RSV4s on the grid next year and maybe without the gears it won't look like a brilliant choice. Time will tell. It could be that they have cornered the market on the now redundant spares and that helped slash the budget.

This breaking news from a very reliable BMW insider source: Leon Haslam visited BMW Headquarters in Germany last Friday whilst, remember, still under contract with Alstare Suzuki until the end of 2011. Leon was apparently very happy with the way the meeting went and ended up signing an agreement with the German team to ride for them next season.
Does a rider's signature stand for nothing these days? Is a contract not worth the paper it's printed on anymore? It seems extremely unprofessional behaviour as well as a very unintelligent move for a rider still trying to win the world title in my humble opinion.
This information is 100% reliable so ignore it at your own cost!

Assuming this is true it says more about Suzuki than it does about Leon. His contract with Alstare Suzuki this year and next stated he would get factory support but there has been little if any support this year and it's looking like there will be none next year so Suzuki have reneged on his contract before he did.

BMW signed HASLAM : how can they do it ? They already agreed with JT and now Leon, that means Corser out the team ?
In addtition, no way that Leon had signed as he's still under agreement with allstare !!! If this is still true, would be a shame for the team....just before the next round.

While not doubting the reliability of your source, I have been unable to confirm this news through other channels. Haslam may have a contract with Alstare, but the Neukirchner episode would seem to indicate that contracts are not as hard and fast as they might seem. Toseland's manager believes he is very close to finalizing a deal with BMW, which would make adding Haslam at BMW problematic. Confirmation of the second rider will probably come within the next week or so, so we will find out soon enough.

no no no no it will not happen ....leon will stay at suzuki and he will be wsbk champion with suzuki,i know leon loves riding for the team feels at home with them and the team love him and want him to stay and be a champion with them.