Whilst between them they couldn't manage to squeeze into the points at round seven of the MotoGP World Championship at Assen this weekend, PBM MotoGP team riders Yonny Hernandez and Michael Laverty scored a pair of important finishes in 19th and 22nd place respectively for the Penrith-based team.
With mixed conditions prevailing during practice, it was in the wet conditions that Colombian Hernandez on the Rapid Solicitors and Minxflix.com-sponsored Aprilia ART and Ulsterman Laverty on the Rapid Solicitors and Minxflix.com-sponsored PBM machine were at their best as both riders were inside the top ten in the weather affected Free Practice 2.
Hernandez, from Medelln, repeated the performance in the next Free Practice session although Laverty, from Toome in County Antrim, could only post 17th fastest before the final drier session which saw Hernandez crash out and Laverty placed 23rd. Into qualifying and Hernandez set 11th fastest time in Q1 to line up 21st on row seven with Laverty one further place and lining up on row eight.
By half distance, Hernandez was in 18th with Laverty up to 20th and that's where they remained until the latter stages before dropping to 19th and 22nd and less than a second apart at the end of the epic 26-lap race around the twisty Dutch track.
With only one retirement out of the 24 starters and none from any of the leading prototype or CRT riders, it meant that neither rider improved their position in the championship but it was vital progress for Britain's only MotoGP team as they finished on the lead lap in the race won by Valentino Rossi.
Hernandez still occupies 19th overall in the MotoGP World Championship standings with Laverty maintaining his 21st in his debut season. In the Claiming Rules Teams (CRT) class, Hernandez holds sixth with Laverty in eighth whereas PBM occupy eighth in the Constructors Championship in their debut season with their brand new British-built machine.
Michael Laverty: "It was a difficult weekend for us at Assen due to the lack of dry set up time. We had a really strong pace in the wet but unfortunately that speed didn't transfer across to the dry although it was nice to be up amongst the prototypes during the wet sessions. After making good progress with the chassis settings in Catalunya we hoped that the good feeling would continue, however Assen required something different. I was involved in a race long battle with Yonny, Barbera, Staring and Corti so it was disappointing not to be able to progress though the group. Thanks to all the guys in the team for the hard work again this weekend, and I look forward to Germany."
Yonny Hernandez: "I am disappointed not to have scored some points but happy that my race times were much more consistent with the setting we now have and I could fight for my position at the end of the race. I am also very happy with the setting for the wet conditions we used in practice as I was able to push hard and be very competitive. I am now looking forward to the next races and want to thank the team for all their work at Assen."
Phil Borley, Technical Director: "Although ultimately our pace in the race was not as good as we would have liked, we can still take some positives from the weekend. Both of our riders have been very competitive in the wet sessions we have experienced during the last few days and Yonny's rear tyre grip was much more consistent during this race, as a result of the setting he is now using. Michael managed to improve on his qualifying time in the race but we ran out of time to find a setting that gave him the confidence to push as hard as he would have liked, so we will look at some different solutions for the next races."
Paul Bird Motorsport