New MotoGP recruit Michael Laverty has described his offer to compete in motorcycling’s flagship world championship as one he simply could not refuse.
The 31-year-old has been drafted into Paul Bird’s PBM UK team to lead the development of a new machine in the CRT [Claiming Rules Team] category in 2013.
He joins Colombian Yonny Hernandez, who will continue to ride the Aprilia ART raced this year by James Ellison, who has switched back to the British Superbike Championship with Shaun Muir’s Milwaukee Yamaha outfit.
Northern Ireland star Laverty’s PBM machine will run the same Aprilia engine used by Hernandez, but the unit will be housed in a new chassis being developed by GPMS Technology and fitted with a state-of-the-art Magneti Marelli electronics system.
For Laverty, who finished fifth in this year’s BSB series on the Samsung Honda, the chance to showcase his talent on the biggest stage of all next season made his decision to swap Brands Hatch for Phillip Island an easy one.
“It was an opportunity that was quite unexpected but one that I had to take whenever it came my way,” he told the News Letter.
“You just never know if you’re going to get an opportunity to ride in the top class in the world and I never thought I would get that shot - I always aimed at maybe getting a crack at World Superbikes one day.
“So it’s nice to be at the pinnacle of the sport, although obviously CRT is the second division in MotoGP if you like, but it’s still going to be a challenge and there are a lot of big names in there,” he added.
“We’ve a lot of new circuits to learn along with new tyres and carbon brakes, so there are a lot of challenges ahead but it’s something I’m really looking forward to and something I think I can do quite well at.”
A highly experienced competitor, Laverty has been tasked with shouldering the responsibility for elevating Bird’s MotoGP project to the next level.
It’s a challenge he has readily accepted.
“Yonny Hernandez has done his deal to continue to race the ART bike supplied by Aprilia.
“You need an Aprilia technician to make any changes to the electronics of the bike and it can be quite restrictive, whereas the bike I’ve got is the same engine basically supplied by Aprilia but we’re housing it in our own chassis that’s being built in the UK by GPMS, which is the company that used to build the chassis for Kenny Roberts’ team,” said Laverty, who lives in Presteigne in Wales.
“They’ve also done all the work for Ten Kate in World Superbikes in recent years and have a lot of experience.
“They are building the chassis and then we’ll bolt the control ECU in there - the Magneti Marelli system - which will be compulsory in 2014. We’ve decided to add that to the Aprilia engine and develop our own electronics package as well.
“It’s all about looking to the future.
“I think it’s a good prospect and if I’m in MotoGP and I have some good results then you get noticed and you never know what may happen in the future on the world stage.”
Laverty will begin his preparations for 2013 in early February.