Effenbert Liberty Racing return to World Superbikes with Mark Aitchison

With the drama of last year behind them - sacking riders, threatening to pull out of racing, more sacking of riders, vitriolic press releases - Effenbert Liberty Racing have announced a return to World Superbikes with Mark Aitchison. Having courted Jakub Smrz and Noriyuki Haga and being rebuffed, they finally found a rider that would ride their Ducati 1098R. Aitchison was, along with, ironically, Jakub Smrz, left without a ride for 2013 when the Splitlath BSB team closed its doors before the season started.

Rumours of Liberty Racing's return were fuelled with mocked up pictures of BMW S1000RRs in Effenbert colours, but they will instead be racing with Ducati 1098Rs. No mention has been made of whether or not the bikes will have to carry the extra 6Kg they were lumbered with last year, and while everyone else on a Ducati enjoys the new Panigale, it remains to be seen how competetive Liberty Racing can be. 

Effenbert Liberty Racing released the following press release: 

The Effenbert Liberty Racing is pleased to announce that from the Motorland Aragon round of the SBK championship on 14 April, renovates the challenge in the Superbike World Championship. 
For this aim, the team decided to line up on the starting grid the expert Australian rider Mark Aitchison. On this occasion, the rider will be riding the Ducati 1098R #8, bike that gave great satisfaction to the team in the previous Sbk seasons.
“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 opportuntity! Ofcourse 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.”
“We are very proud to be able to line up our Ducati 1098R also this year, - said the Team Owner, Mario Bertuccio - 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”.
All staff of Effenbert Liberty Racing Team would like to thank the organization of the World SBK Championship and all its sponsors that, with their support and enthusiasm, have made possible to continue our commitment to this sport.

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Is the 1098R even homologated for use in WSBK anymore?

From the FIM Regs:

Eligibility requirements
Motorcycles must have a valid international homologation for road use or a national homologation for road use in one of these countries or regions: USA, EU or Japan. The motorcycles must represent machines of mass production.

• The motorcycles must be OF CURRENT PRODUCTION.

Edited again: Just checked - no Duc 1098Rs on the grid at Phillip Island.