The JR Racing Team appears to be on the verge of collapse. The team, set up with financial backing from the Dominican Republic, ostensibly to promote a circuit to be built on the Caribbean island, was set to run BMW S1000RR bikes in the World Superbike championship, with Ayrton Badovini and Toni Elias as riders. The team had enlisted the support of Troy Corser, and had strong backing from Alpha Racing in Germany and BMW. However, team manager Gemma Voces Pons today issued a press release stating that they have yet to receive "a single cent" from the team owners, Yoselyn Robinson and Manfredi Lombardi.
The team had long been rumored to be in trouble. There have been reports that the BMW S1000RRs ordered by the team are stuck in a workshop in Munich, the bikes still unpaid for, and Alpha Racing unable to proceed with preparing the machines. The team missed the opening round of World Superbikes at Phillip Island, but had told the riders they expected to race at the second round, at the Chang circuit in Thailand. Yet there is still no sign of the bikes, and the riders appear to have given up hope altogether. In an interview with the Gazzetta dello Sport's WSBK writer Paolo Gozzi, Ayrton Badovini said that he had 'lost hope', saying "as far as I know, for the moment no one has even bought a screw. I haven’t seen a euro and I think the same can be said for Elias, the mechanics and everyone else. At the moment, we haven’t got anything, just contracts that are waste paper."
The press release from team manager Gemma Voces Pons appears to be the nail in the coffin for the project. Pons claims that neither she, nor anyone else in the project has been paid, and that the failure of the team owners to pay the money leaves eighteen people without a job for 2015, and at far too late a stage to find a replacement. Pons says she will personally take legal action against Robinson and Lombardi to obtain monies owed. However, given the disparate geographical nature of the team, and the tendency for racing teams to set up base in countries more famous for their tax laws and legal frameworks than for their racing heritage, that may prove to be a very tough battle indeed.
Below is the statement from Voces Pons:
Gemma Voces Pons (Team Manager JR Racing): statement 9th March 2015
“Up until now, Costantino Tontarelli (Team Coordinator) and I (Team Manager) have not talked for a number of reasons. The team is currently not in a good situation. No one has received a single cent from the team owners - Yoselyn Robinson and Manfredi Lombardi. No one is to blame for this situation except these two people. During this difficult period, Dorna, BMW and Alpha Racing have been very supportive to us (team).
We have been working on this new team project for over a year and feel very disappointed and angry about the whole situation. Not only because it seems that our time has been wasted but also because we are 18 people without jobs and it is not likely we will find something at this late stage now. We are fighting to receive our salaries and BMW, Alpha Racing, Ohlins and many more are also waiting to receive what is owed to them.
We will defend the mechanics and riders best interests in this matter and I will personally take legal action if the money is not paid to us all. Having said that, we are more than ready to start if the owners decide to pay what’s owed.”