After a season of great promise so far for the Penrith-based PBM MotoGP team, it finally all came together in round ten of the MotoGP World Championship at Indianapolis Motor Speedway when both Michael Laverty and Broc Parkes scored points in the same race to create history for Paul Bird's team.
After struggling in the inclement weather over the two rounds prior to the summer break, both Ulsterman Laverty on the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene-backed Aprilia ART-powered PBM, and Australian team-mate Broc Parkes on the Silkolene-backed PBM were hoping for a change of luck as they headed over to the USA for the Red Bull Indianapolis Grand Prix.
Laverty, a former British Supersport Champion, and twice runner-up in the World Supersport Championship Parkes, slotted their respective machines inside the top 20 over the four free practice sessions at the iconic and historic venue but qualifying didn't go too well after a crash had left Parkes down in 23rd on the grid with Laverty just one place ahead of him.
Today's race was held in hot and humid conditions and from the start, both Laverty and Parkes were on the pace and moved inside the top 20 in the opening few laps. By lap 11 of the 23 laps, the pair were up to 17th and 18th place respectively but on lap 14, Laverty had moved into the points with Parkes agonisingly just outside in 16th.
To the delight of team boss Paul Bird, who had made the trip across the Atlantic, he saw Laverty climb up to 14th on lap 15 followed by Parkes into the final points scoring slot where both remained until the chequered flag to cue the celebrations for the only British team in MotoGP.
What's more, such was Laverty's pace in the dying laps that he was embroiled in a four way scrap which could have netted him an amazing 11th place finish; instead he missed out by just four seconds at the flag. The result was the first time ever in PBM's three year tenure in MotoGP that both riders had scored points in the same race, a remarkable achievement considering the home-built components on each bike.
The result sees Parkes maintain his 20th position overall in the 2014 MotoGP World Championship table, eighth in the Open class standings and third in Rookie of the Year. Following his one and only DNF of the year last time out, Laverty made amends with his first points of the season to occupy 23rd place and 11th in the Open class. Importantly for the PBM team, they occupy fifth place in the manufacturer's table and 11th in the team's standings.
Michael Laverty: "Finally I've got some points on the board! It was a tough race but I enjoyed it, I caught up to Colin Edwards mid race but couldn't get past, I had the pace to catch up to a couple of other riders but I just couldn't find a way through on Colin, his Yamaha engine has more power than us and it makes life difficult. I will fly home happy as I feel this is a difficult circuit for our bike yet we as a team managed to find a good set up and pull off a strong performance today."
Broc Parkes: "It's been another hard weekend but it's worked out well in the end. I was a little detuned after the crash and couldn't stay with the pace of the group in front. It's all about scoring points and today we achieved that again and for Michael to score points too is a fantastic achievement for our small team."
Paul Bird, Team Owner: "What a fantastic result for our team from a little village in Cumbria to score points against the world's best. It's a memorable day for sure and I'm absolutely delighted for the riders, the whole team and myself. Michael's lap times were only a couple of seconds off the front runners and he could have possibly finished even higher and Broc rode a brave race because he was knocked about in yesterday's crash. I might have to come to a few more races if this is how they perform but right now, this calls for a celebration, the whole team deserves it. Congratulations to Shakey and Stuart at Oulton Park for a great performance in the British Superbike Championship at Oulton Park this weekend too, this is a wonderful weekend for PBM."
Phil Borley, Technical Director: "It has been a tough weekend for us in Indianapolis and we struggled for pace and had a few problems in qualifying and some of the practice sessions. However for the race Michael had a good pace and rode well to score his first points of the year. Broc had some corner entry issues in the race, which we will aim to solve in Brno, but we are pleased that he also finished in the points."
Image courtesy of Gold & Goose: Michael Laverty in action at Indianapolis.