Michael Laverty Joins Moto GP Ranks
December 17, 2012 by Tony Gregory
Following the release of the official Moto GP entry list by the FIM last week, Paul Bird Motorsport UK has now been able to confirm that both Northern Ireland’s Michael Laverty and Columbian rider Yonny Hernandez will ride in Moto GP for the Penrith-based team in 2013.
After their rookie season in 2012 with James Ellison, Britain’s only Moto GP World Championship team is expanding to two riders in the Claiming Rules Teams (CRT) class having finalised contracts with the riders. The deal will see 31-year-old Laverty, from Toomebridge in Northern Ireland, aboard a brand new machine being developed by the PBM UK team, and headed up by Technical Director Phil Borley. 24-year-old Hernandez, on the Aprilia ART campaigned by Ellison last season.
Laverty is a former British Supersport Champion who raced in the class for the PBM team as Monster Mob Ducati in 2004 before graduating to British Superbikes with the same team as Stobart Honda in 2005 and 2006 and it was during that first season where he gained his first two BSB podiums. Hernandez raced in Moto2 during 2010 and 2011, claiming a best result of sixth at both Sachsenring and Valencia before graduating to Moto GP last season where he scored a best result of ninth at Indianapolis.
The expansion is part of a long term plan by team owner Paul Bird in Moto GP to develop an all-British bike and with Laverty’s inclusion, he has kept his pledge to run a British rider, despite having a number of top foreign riders interested. The team will also be running a brand new colour scheme which will be unveiled prior to testing next year.
The PBM UK Moto GP World Championship Team will run in conjunction with their commitment in British Superbikes which will see 2012 BSB Champion Shane ‘Shakey’ Byrne looking to defend his title alongside 2012 Superstock 1000 champion Keith Farmer on Rapid Solicitors Kawasakis.
Laverty commented on the news “I’m really excited about racing in the 2013 Moto GP series; I’d like to thank Paul and the guys at PBM UK for giving me this opportunity. I will be riding an Aprilia powered PBM machine with the new chassis and control electronics, I can’t wait to get started pre-season testing at Sepang in early February. I will have to adapt to the Bridgestone tyres and carbon brakes plus learn a few new circuits along the way but I hope to be challenging for top CRT honours. There are some experienced riders on CRT bikes so I am certainly not underestimating the challenge. It’s great to be back with the PBM team, having spent three years there I should easily slot back in, next season makes PBM the team I’ve spent the longest with so far in my career. It is going to be an interesting season with a lot to learn but I’m really up for the challenge.”
Paul Bird, Team Owner: “We have now finalised all the details of the contracts and I’m delighted to announce that both Yonny and Michael will be riding in Moto GP for us next season. We learned a lot this season and we plan on building on that experience as we want to challenge for top CRT honours and I see no reason why we can’t. It’s certainly going to be a very busy year for us, that’s for sure!”