After missing out on the points last time out following a crash at Laguna Seca, Britain's James Ellison made it five points scoring rides in six races following a battling performance at round 11 of the MotoGP World Championship held at the world-famous Indianapolis Motor Speedway at the weekend.
Aboard the PBMUK Aprilia ART, the 31-year-old from Kendal was looking to bounce back in a second successive American race for the Penrith-based team and after a promising start; he was in the mix on the opening couple of laps as he circulated in 13th place.
But just as it was looking promising for the former European Superstock and World Endurance champion, a gearbox problem saw him lose time and relegate him to last meaning it was a battle to climb the leaderboard.
Ellison dug in bravely and despite the problems, he managed to climb to 14th place on the final lap, only for a rival team to protest afterwards alleging that the Brit had gained an unfair advantage when he had to take evasive action following a mechanical problem which caused him to short cut a part of the track.
The result sees James drop to 19th in the standings whilst the PBMUK team dropped two places to 13th in the Team standings going into next weekend's Czech Republic Grand Prix in Brno.
James Ellison: "The race yesterday was frustrating as we had a really good start and a really strong pace but a gearbox problem forced us out of contention so it was basically just a case of salvaging as many points as possible. I was up to 13th on lap one and battling with Toni Elias and Karel Abraham but as I went into Turn 1 on lap three, there was a problem with the gearbox which caused me to run off the track losing nearly 20 seconds and putting me dead last by a long way. I fought so hard to get back in the points and the problem reoccurred two more times with the same outcome, only the third time it happened, it caused me to cut the track and accidently gain a 1.6 second advantage. I didn't really think a lot of it given I had lost so much time and was delighted to have finished 14th in the race but a protest was put in by the rider I beat which was upheld and put us down to 15th. I think it was a bit harsh as we lost over 20 seconds with the other two excursions and if you ask me, it was just bad sportsmanship and I was very disappointed that we didn't get the additional point we worked so hard for. I have raced against Steve Rapp in AMA and have a lot of respect for him and his Attack team so am disappointed they resorted to this."
Paul Bird, Team Owner: "Fair play to James, he rode well considering the problems and did well to bring the bike home in the points although I do feel we missed out on scoring big at Indy. It's important we get as many laps under our belts and finishing races is the first priority. I had to smile when I heard about the protest from Steve Rapp and his team, if a 40-year-old coming towards the end of his career wants an additional one place GP finish on his CV so badly, then he's welcome to it and it probably makes them feel a little bit better for not even qualifying at Laguna Seca. Either way, we go to Brno next weekend looking to improve and we hope to add to our CRT victory in France."
Source: Paul Bird Motorsport