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 second batch of post-race press releases after this weekend's World Superbike round at Monza, issued a day later because of the confusion over the results:
Press releases from some of the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after several incident-packed races at Monza:
Motor racing has been described as drag racing between corners. Never is this adage truer than at Monza. Speed out of corners is paramount, especially out of the Parabolica, the fast last corner that leads on to the equally fast start/finish straight. The faster you exit a corner, the sooner you reach your top speed. Monza has two long straights, both with fast corners leading onto them; this is what makes it different from other tracks with long straights. Fuel limits and tyres come into play in a different way here than any other track on the calendar. The other unique aspect of Monza is the controversies that arise from its uniqueness, and this weekend was no different in that respect.
The last lap of the second World Superbike was frought with controversy after an overtake followed by an off-track excursion. The results of third and fourth place in the race have subsequently been reversed, following an appeal.
The second World Superbike race at Monza once again demonstrated the kind of excitement that only a fast track can deliver.
Eighteen laps at a dry Italian speed track that rewards a clear head and a fast bike.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after qualifying on Saturday at Monza:
Rain topped and tailed the day, hopefully squeezing the last drops out before the races tomorrow so that Monza can enjoy a very Italian mother's day. One lucky mother will be getting a set of Jules Cluzel leathers, stolen from his trailer, unless they're recovered before tomorrow. Another mother hoping to be lucky is Mrs Lowes, mother of Alex and Sam, who saw Alex Lowes win a BSB race on Monday and Sam Lowes win last Superbike race at Assen.
Superpole was blessed with the promised good weather, allowing the riders to get on with pushing their machines down the multiple high-speed sections of the old Italian track. The qualifying tyres were pink-ringed for Mother's Day instead of having their usual yellow stripe.
Eugene Laverty led Marco Melandri and Tom Sykes, all within a quarter of a second. Sylvain Guintoli was once again the fastest bike through the speed trap, at 337.1kmh, while Leon Camier ensured there were four different manufacturers of motorcycle in the top five.
For race-pace, Laverty, Sykes and Guintoli registered the most 1'42 laps, with Laverty stringing together a decent run at the end of the session.
A storm hit Monza overnight and, in spite of the sun, the morning's qualifying session was declared wet. The track dried out towards the end, allowing a few riders to improve their positions from yesterday and sort out the lower slots for Superpole later. Without a complete dry session, the afternoon's free practice will be crucial to get a setting for both qualifying and racing. Marco Melandri remained in provisional pole, alongside Jonathan Rea, but Sylvain Guintoli was fastest in the session, improving his time, if not his position, from yesterday.
Carlos Checa underwent examination for shoulder pain after the Assen round and found he had an osseous edema on the head of the humerus of the left shoulder, probably the result of an older injury, enraged by the weekend's exertion. This morning, it was confirmed that he would be pulling out of the remainder of the Monza weekend. The 2011 world champion aims to be fit in time to race at the Donington round in two week's time.
Press releases from the World Superbike and World Supersport teams after the first day of practice at Monza: