Ulsterman Michael Laverty finally overcame a season of frustration to record his best result of the year when he recorded a 13th place finish in round 16 of the 2014 MotoGP World Championship which took place at Phillip Island earlier today.
Having recorded a number of finishes just outside the points this season, the former British Supersport Champion added to his only points haul from Indianapolis with a superb performance in Australia.
The Penrith-based PBM team were hoping the track would suit their machines better although Laverty, on the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene-backed Aprilia ART-powered PBM, struggled during qualifying and could only manage 21st place on the grid.
It was even worse for Australian team-mate Broc Parkes who was looking to impress at his home round but a high speed crash aboard the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene-backed PBM in the opening practice saw him sustain a damaged shoulder although he did battle through qualifying to start from row eight.
Neither Laverty nor twice runner-up in the World Supersport Championship Parkes made great starts and for the opening laps circulated just outside the top 20. Parkes eventually called it a day as his injuries got the better of him on lap 13 and he was forced to retire as Laverty continued to climb the leaderboard.
By lap 20, he was just outside the points but towards the end of the race, he clawed his way up the leaderboard to cross the finishing line in 13th place to claim a further three points to add to the two he scored in America.
The result sees Laverty elevated to 25th in the MotoGP World Championship table with Parkes in 23rd after his three points scoring rides in Qatar, Assen and Indianapolis this season. Despite Parkes' non-finish, the Cumbrian team made it 28 finishes out of the 32 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 12th in the Open class whilst importantly for the PBM team, they hold sixth place in the Constructor's table and 13th in the team's standings.
The PBM MotoGP team is next in action at Sepang in Malaysia next weekend for the penultimate round of the series, followed by the final race of the season in Valencia on November 9th.
Michael Laverty: "I'm happy to get some more points on the board today, it was a race of attrition but we performed well overall. The new tyres made it a challenge this weekend; however the team adjusted the bike to work the tyres harder, giving me a more comfortable feeling with every session. We move onto Sepang now where it will be nice to forget about tyre temperatures for the weekend as it's like racing in an oven. Congratulations to the BSB side of the team in securing another title today."
Broc Parkes: "I had high hopes for my home Grand Prix and it's the race I've been looking forward to all year so to fall down early on wasn't what I wanted. I bashed myself around and it was a struggle thereafter. I gave it a go in the race but in the end had to admit defeat which is doubly frustrating given I had a good chance of adding to my points total this weekend. Hopefully I'll feel better in Sepang and we can give it another go there."
Phil Borley, Technical Director: "We were hoping the Phillip Island circuit would suit our bikes more than the last few races but from the first session we have been struggling to find the rear grip to be more competitive. The tyres developed especially for the factory bikes at this circuit have not helped us, but they are the same for the other Open teams so we have not found a way of achieving their optimum performance. Broc's home race was affected by the 130mph crash he suffered in the first practice session, which both damaged his shoulder and his confidence. It was a shame he could not complete the race due to his condition, as with the rate of attrition he would have scored at least a point. Michael made a good start but couldn't match the pace of some of the other riders at the beginning of the race, although his pace was more competitive in the latter stages. The positive to take from the weekend is his points scoring finish."
Image courtesy of Gold & Goose: Michael Laverty in action at Phillip Island