Paul Bird Motorsport
After winning the Claiming Rules Team (CRT) class at the French Grand Prix last month, PBM UK rider James Ellison was once again in the thick of the action in today's Catalunya Grand Prix as he battled to a 16th place finish in round five of the 2012 MotoGP World Championship.
All things considered it was a good, solid race and I can't wait for Silverstone to see the home fans!
Aboard the PBM UK Aprilia ART at the track just outside Barcelona, the 31-year-old rider from Kendal qualified on row six of the grid as fourth fastest CRT bike and made a good start to the race. Briefly leading the CRT class in the opening stages, the former World Endurance and double European champion continued to battle with the leading runners and at the chequered flag, he claimed fourth place in the CRT class and just missed out on adding to his World Championship points.
What was particularly encouraging was the fact that Ellison was only five seconds behind the leading CRT bike of Aleix Espargaro at the end of the 25-lap race which shows what considerable progress the Penrith-based team is making in their first season in the MotoGP World Championship.
Next up is the British Grand Prix at Silverstone in two weeks' time whereby not only will Ellison be in action in the MotoGP race at his home track, the team's British Superbike Championship riders Shane Byrne and Stuart Easton will be contesting the 'Silverstone 200' support race on board their Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki ZX-10Rs.
James Ellison: "I was happy with my pace but disappointed not to get into the points and stay with the leading trio of CRT bikes at the end. It didn't help that I was missing gears down the straights so that is something we are going to look into. On a good lap I could close right in but then the problem would reoccur and I lost the time I'd made up. I'd like to say a big thanks to the team as they worked their butts off to get the bike ready after warm up where I crashed and we are now looking forward to testing the bike tomorrow. All things considered it was a good, solid race and I can't wait for Silverstone to see the home fans!"
Phil Borley Technical Director: "That was James' best dry race performance and proved that we're now becoming very competitive with the other CRT bikes. He had a gearbox issue which stopped him challenging later on and also, he hurt his leg during the warm up crash but it's a shame we didn't get into the World Championship points. This is a big step forward for us in the dry and we are now looking towards Silverstone where we will get the full allocation of front tyre options which will also help us improve."
Ellison will be joined by Shane Byrne at tomorrow's test in Catalunya where the two riders will compare data and feedback aboard the Aprilia ART in a bid to develop the planned all-British project further.