Effenbert Liberty Racing has confirmed it will return to the World Superbike Championship from the second round at Motorland Aragon with a Ducati 1098R campaigned by Mark Aitchison.
The Czech team has dropped hints about an impending comeback in recent months, but with just a week to go before the WSBK season resumes in Spain, it has now formally declared its intentions to return to the series with Aitchison on the bike and beverage-company Effenbert continuing to sponsor.
The deal is something of a lifeline for Aitchison, who was due to compete in the British Superbike Championship this season with Splitlath Redmond Aprilia, only for the team to withdraw last month.
Pleased to be back in the international series, following his eye-catching 2011 season on the Pedercini Kawasaki, Aitchison says he is focused on simply getting up to speed.
”I'm very happy to have found a place in the World Superbike Championship for this season. I am really looking forward to starting this new project with the Effenbert Liberty Racing Team as it's a great opportunity! Of course we know that it will not be easy coming in late to the series. We have had not testing and development time, so it's fair to say we have planned to use the first few rounds to accustom myself with the bike and team.
“I will do my absolute best I can for the team, and I'm sure once we find a good direction and rhythm the results will come. At the moment I'm just focused on enjoying the racing and enjoying getting back to SBK after my team BSB are no longer running.”
Effenbert Liberty Racing made its WSBK debut in 2011, picking up podiums with Sylvain Guintoli and Jakub Smrz in its maiden year. The team went on to secure its first victory in 2012 courtesy of Guintoli at Assen, but the team would spend the second-half of the year embroiled in controversy, parting company with all three of its riders and even skipping rounds altogether.
Despite this, team manager Mario Betuccio is keen to draw a line under a troublesome 2012 with a view to building on the positive aspects of its race-winning achievements.
“We are very proud to be able to line up our Ducati 1098R also this year - we want to face the championship with determination. The 2012 season for us was particularly hard and therefore this year we have the opportunity for rewrite positively our future .
“We have a lot of trust in Mark, that I desire to personally thank for having accepted to belong to our team helping us to realize, with determination, our project. There are all the right bases to face in constructive way the appointment with the World SBK Championship.”
Effenbert Liberty's return will see the Ducati 1098R back on the grid having been succeeded at the end of the 2012 season by the new 1199 Panigale.