British MotoGP team Paul Bird Motorsport has finally announced they will run Michael Laverty and Yonny Hernandez in MotoGP’s CRT series next year.
The Cumbria-based squad will see 24-year-old Hernandez on an Aprilia ART bike, the same one used by Brit James Ellison last year, and 31-year-old Michael Laverty joining the team on an all-new bike using a British chassis with an Aprilia engine.
Paul Bird said: “I’m delighted to announce that both Yonny and Michael will be riding in MotoGP 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.”
Hernandez raced in Moto2 during 2010 and 2011, claiming a best result of sixth at the Sachsenring and Valencia before graduating to MotoGP last season where he scored a best result of ninth at Indianapolis.
Laverty is a former British Supersport Champion who raced in the class for the PBM team as MonsterMob Ducati in 2004 before graduating to British Superbikes with the same team under the banner of Stobart Honda in 2005 and 2006.
Laverty said: “I’m really excited about racing in the 2013 MotoGP 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."
He added: "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.”
The expansion is part of a long term plan by team owner Paul Bird in MotoGP to develop an all-British bike.