For the second time this season, Ulsterman Michael Laverty and Australian team-mate Broc Parkes brought both PBM machines home in the points to enjoy a successful weekend at the Shell Advance Malaysian Motorcycle GP held in stifling conditions at Sepang earlier today.
After the success of Laverty's brilliant 13th place at Phillip Island in Australia the week before, tempered by Parkes injuring his shoulder in a practice crash, hopes were high for the Penrith-based team at the 17th and penultimate round of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship.
With conditions as hot and humid as experienced all season, both Laverty, on the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene-backed Aprilia ART-powered PBM and Parkes aboard the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene-backed PBM battled through practice, gradually improved their pace, despite a spill for Laverty.
Former British Supersport Champion Laverty ended up qualifying in 20th place on row seven of the grid with twice runner-up in the World Supersport Championship Parkes two places and one row further back.
Laverty made a great start and had already climbed to 17th within the opening couple of laps as Parkes gave chase despite still being troubled by the shoulder injury he sustained in his home race. By lap seven, Laverty had made it into the points although both riders had to work hard in the conditions.
By lap 13 Laverty was up to 14th and a couple of laps later, he climbed to 13th as Parkes upped his pace too to move into the points. From there, the pair battled on and at the end of the 20 lap race, Laverty crossed the line in a career best 12th place with Parkes bravely claiming 14th at the flag.
The result betters the historic 14th and 15th places scored by the two riders in Indianapolis meaning that in their penultimate race of the series, Paul Bird's team re-wrote the history books for the all-British team.
As a result, Laverty has elevated himself to 24th in the MotoGP World Championship table with his three points scoring rides (Indianapolis, Australia and Malaysia) with Parkes in 23rd after his four points scoring rides in Qatar, Assen, Indianapolis and now Malaysia this season. Adding gloss to the result, the Cumbrian team made it 30 finishes out of the 34 races to date for the British-made machine.
Parkes is tenth in the Open class standings and third in Rookie of the Year. Laverty occupies 11th in the Open class whilst importantly for the PBM team, they hold fifth place in the Constructor's table and 13th in the team's standings.
The PBM MotoGP team is next in action at the final race of the season in Valencia on November 9th.
Michael Laverty: "That's points two weekends in a row! Thanks to a great job by all the team, I crashed my preferred bike in FP3 putting us on the back foot throughout Qualifying and morning warm up but the boys had my number one bike back to its best for the race. I didn't have the grip in the early laps to go with Petrucci but I was able to keep my pace consistent throughout and caught back up to him and gapped Di Meglio. It was possibly the toughest race I've ever done due to the heat and humidity so I feel an extra satisfaction that I managed to secure my best MotoGP finish to date."
Broc Parkes: "After the disappointment of missing out at my home GP in Australia last weekend, I was determined to make up for it in Sepang. The injury to my shoulder I sustained in Phillip Island was still troubling me and I didn't have the best time during Free Practice and Qualifying but I dug deep in the race. It was hard work but I was determined to see it through and to be rewarded with a couple of points was fantastic. Well done to Michael on his result too, to have us both in the points again is a brilliant reward for all the team's hard work."
Phil Borley, Technical Director: "The Malaysian Grand Prix has definitely been our hottest race of the year and probably the toughest for our riders because of the conditions. For both of our riders to score points is very satisfying and to maintain our reliability record when others have suffered is also positive. Michael made a good start to the race but didn't have the pace early on to stay with our immediate competitors, but could match their times later in the race. Broc's pace was again affected by his shoulder injury, but he soldiered on to finish the race and score points. We now look forward to our last MotoGP race in a couple of weeks and see if we can end the season on a high."
Image courtesy of Gold & Goose: Michael Laverty in action in Malaysia