After three years in the premier class of global motorcycle racing, the Penrith-based Paul Bird Motorsport team embark on their final MotoGP race when the 2014 MotoGP Wold Championship concludes at Valencia in Spain this weekend.
The 18th and final round will see Ulsterman Michael Laverty and Australian team-mate Broc Parkes attempting to add to their successes this season, which included the British team's best ever results when Laverty finished 12th and Parkes in 14th last time out in Sepang.
It was the second time this season that the riders had brought both the British-built PBM machines home in the points, which also happened in Indianapolis, and added to the team's points scoring rides in Losail, Assen and Phillip Island.
Both former British Supersport Champion Laverty, on the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene-backed Aprilia ART-powered PBM, and twice runner-up in the World Supersport Championship Parkes, aboard the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene-backed PBM, are level on points in the championship standings, so both will be looking for a good result to end the team's latest chapter.
Winners of over 150 races in the British Superbike Championship, World Superbike Championship, MotoGP CRT, 125cc, 250cc, Supersport and Superstock British Championships, Isle of Man TT, North West 200, Daytona, Macau GP, and British domestic races. Points scorers in 125cc, 250cc and 500cc and MotoGP, as well as in World Supersport, podium finishers in WSB, Superpole winners in World Superbike, PBM is one of the most successful motorcycle racing teams in history.
Indeed, the statistics regarding their three seasons as the only all-British team in MotoGP certainly stack up favourably with a finishing rate of over 75% of races entered during that time, two of which were with their own chassis built at the team's base in the Lake District.
Team owner Paul Bird will be travelling to Valencia to personally thank his team and to witness their final MotoGP race before jetting off to Macau in time for the Macau Grand Prix the week after.
Paul Bird, Team Owner: "When we started this project, people said we were mad to try to build our own MotoGP bike but I'm proud to say we did it and what's more, it's capable of lapping within a couple of seconds a lap of the likes of Marc Marquez with all his talent and Honda's limitless budget. Over three seasons, our bikes have rarely broken down and to finish 75% of the races we have started is an incredible achievement, and almost half of the DNFs have been crashes. The team has done a wonderful job which has been very difficult at times, led by Phil Borley. The Doc has been with us for 14 years now and was instrumental in achieving our dream so I'd like to pay special tribute to him at this time. Who knows what we might do in future but I'd like to say thanks to Dorna and IRTA for their help over the past three years and it just goes to show what you can do if you really want to achieve something."
2012 (James Ellison, Aprilia ART)
Finish Rate: 77.78%
Points Scored: 35
Best Result 9th (Sepang & Valencia)
2013 (Michael Laverty, Yonny Hernandez and Damian Cudlin, Aprilia ART/PBM)
Finish Rate: 66.66%
Points Scored: 10
Position: (Hernandez 18), Laverty 25, Cudlin -
Best Result: 13th (Laverty in Jerez & Hernandez in Laguna Seca)
2014 (Michael Laverty & Broc Parkes, Aprilia ART/PBM)
Finish Rate: 85.29%
Points Scored: 18
Position: (Parkes 23rd, Laverty 24th)
Best Result: 11th (Parkes in Assen)
Years in MotoGP: 3
Finish Rate 76.14%
Points Scored: 63