One of the two final missing pieces of the 2014 MotoGP line up has been filled in. Today, the Paul Bird Motorsport team announced it would be back in MotoGP next season, with a two-rider team and additional help from Aprilia.
The two riders will be Michael Laverty, who rode for Paul Bird’s PBM team in 2013, and Broc Parkes, who has spent most of his career racing in World Supersport and World Superbikes.
Though the press release issued stated that the team will be racing ‘PBM Aprilias’, it is still uncertain exactly what Laverty and Parkes will be riding.
Speaking to British site BikeSportNews, Laverty said that no decision had been made on whether they would be riding the full Aprilia ART package or the PBM chassis with an Aprilia engine.
The team are due to test both packages back to back to assess development, and make a decision from there, Laverty said. What is clear is that Aprilia will be stepping up their support for the PBM team, after making a decision about the factory’s future involvement in MotoGP.
The arrival of Parkes saves a long-standing record in the series. Australian riders have been a continuous presence in the premier class since 1983, and with the departure of Bryan Staring at Gresini, it looked like that run would come to an end. It seems likely that Dorna had a hand in keeping an Australian in the series, and the choice of Parkes is a good one in terms of name recognition.
Parkes has been a very strong presence in the World Supersport series in recent years, racking up a total of 32 podiums and 6 wins. After a year racing World Endurance and in the Australian Superbike championship, Parkes returns to the world stage with PBM.
The announcement of PBM’s rider line up ended the doubts of PBM’s continued participation in MotoGP, and leaves only one space still open for 2014. The IODA racing team has yet to confirm their second rider for 2014, or whether they will field a second rider at all. IODA look set to also field Aprilia machinery, but that, too, will rely on investment from Aprilia.
Source: Paul Bird Motorsport; Photo: © 2013 Scott Jones / Scott Jones Photography – All Rights Reserved
This article was originally published on MotoMatters, and is republished here on Asphalt & Rubber with permission by the author.