Photography by Gold & Goose
Paul Bird Motorsport will contest both the MotoGP World Championship and the British Superbike Championship in 2014 with the British team owner set to field two riders in each series.
The MotoGP team will be led for a second season by Ulsterman Michael Laverty and he’ll be joined on the team’s PBM Aprilias by Australian Broc Parkes. On the British Superbike side of the team Shane Byrne is set to return with British Supersport Champion Stuart Easton joining him on the team’s Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki ZX-10Rs.
Laverty ended his debut season in the MotoGP World Championship in 25th overall with a best result of 13th at Jerez. Parkes, meanwhile, is a former runner-up in the World Supersport Championship and last raced a Kawasaki for the PBM team in World Superbikes in 2009.
"We learned so much in year one that I'm delighted Paul has continued his involvement with MotoGP and that he's given me the opportunity to continue with the project,” Laverty said. “Everyone has told me that year two is much easier so the aim is to put into place what we have learned and to raise our game accordingly. The class is going to be a lot tougher with the new production bikes, but our aim is to consistently score points."
In the MCE Insurance British Superbike Championship, Byrne was narrowly beaten to the title in the very last race of the season but became the most successful rider in series history taking his tally to 51 wins. Returning to the team he last raced with in 2012, Scotsman Easton is hoping to add to his success for the Cumbrian-based team.
"Paul and I agreed to a deal ages back and I'm made up I'll be racing for the PBM Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team once again in 2014,” Byrne said. “We came so close to defending our title that it makes us even more determined to win it back this season and I know I've got the most competitive package to do that. We had a successful test in Spain earlier this week so I'm feeling confident already."
All four bikes are expected to run in the traditional British Racing Green livery and the team will be officially unveiled at the London Motorcycle Show on February 14.
"Firstly, I'd like to say a massive thanks to Paul Bird for the opportunity to work with his team once again; I'm really looking forward to it,” Parkes said. “This is the premier class and it's every rider's dream to race in MotoGP. I know this is going to be a tough season, but I'm certainly up for the challenge, I can't wait to get started."
Bird is happy with the teams he’s put together.
"It's taken a little while, but I've got the four riders I wanted in the two championships I wanted to race in,” the team owner said. “We've done a lot of spade work in MotoGP over the past two seasons so the plan is to build on that and work with our partners and Michael and Broc are very capable of delivering. As for BSB, it really hurt us losing our crown to Honda so Shakey's back to try and reclaim it and Stuart needed a year away from BSB and is now back in the big time with us. We have some wonderful and loyal sponsors with Personal Injury and Clinical Negligence specialists Rapid Solicitors and Fuchs Silkolene on board again and also, we'd like to welcome MAC Tools too.”