Michael Laverty has switched to the PBM ART machine for this weekend’s MotoGP race at Aragon in Spain.
Laverty had previously ridden the team’s own Aprilia-powered racer this season, which uses an in-house chassis.
However, following the departure of Colombian Yonny Hernandez, Northern Ireland rider Laverty has opted to ride the ART machine in the CRT class after testing the bike following the post-race shakedown at Misano.
Laverty believes he can be more competitive on the ART bike, which is much further along in terms of development than the team’s own PBM machine.
Hernandez has joined Pramac Ducati as a replacement for the injured Ben Spies, while Australian Damian Cudlin has been drafted into Paul Bird’s outfit for the Aragon and Australian MotoGP rounds.
On Friday, Laverty finished the opening free practice sessions at the Spanish circuit in 20th position overall - eighth fastest in the CRT class.
In FP3 on Saturday, he was 14th quickest, with Valentino Rossi going top on the Factory Yamaha from Gresini Honda’s Alvaro Bautista and Nicky Hayden on the Ducati.
Former British Superbike contender Laverty - competing in his maiden year in the elite MotoGP series - has earned three championship points so far, courtesy of his best result of the season at Jerez in Spain.
Repsol Honda’s Marc Marquez led the way in the dry on the Repsol Honda on Friday, taking the top spot by 0.132s from Stefan Bradl on the satellite LCR Honda.
Dani Pedrosa made it a Honda 1-2-3 in third position ahead of Factory Yamaha star and defending world champion Jorge Lorenzo.
Rookie Marquez holds an advantage of 34 points over Lorenzo and Pedrosa, who are tied on points in second position ahead of Sunday’s race.
Lorenzo has won the last two races at Silverstone and Misano as he steps up his challenge to retain the world crown.