PBM UK rider James Ellison saw his and his team's hopes of an encouraging result dashed when he was forced to retire from today's Spanish GP at Jerez less than two laps from the finish.
After qualifying on the final row of the grid due to a couple of problems in practice as well as experimenting with front end set up, the 31-year-old from Kendal made a great start and ran with the leading Claiming Rules Team (CRT) riders aboard his PBM UK Aprilia ART for virtually all of the race.
But just when it was looking like he may box of his first World Championship points of the season, and the first for the brand new all-British PBM UK team based in Penrith, a problem with oil pressure meant he could no longer continue and he was forced into the pits on the penultimate lap when holding 14th place.
Despite the disappointment, the team heads to the next round of the MotoGP World Championship in Estoril, Portugal next weekend in positive fashion where they are hoping for another good performance.
James Ellison: "I'm very happy with the improvements to the bike, we have gone a long way to sorting the chatter issues by trying a combination of the new front tyre and turning off the Traction Control but we lost side grip which we will sort by running TC at Estoril. We had a couple of problems during practice but I got a great start in the race and was feeling comfortable running with the leading CRT riders, we were even mixing it up with a few prototypes as well, but then the oil pressure suddenly dropped and I had to pit. I am gutted as we deserved our first points and I feel for the team. We have made good strides this weekend but still need more time on the bike to iron out the problems, especially with the electronics, but today has given us all encouragement and we can hopefully get a good result in Estoril."
Paul Bird, Team Owner: "How unlucky can you get as just as we were in with a shout of a cracking result, James is forced out with a lap to go. The boys have done a wonderful job considering it's only our second GP and fair play to James, he rode well, and he even had the likes of Rossi in his sights. If anyone had said that to me at the start of the season, I'd have told them to go away and give their head a shake! We will take a lot from this weekend and continue our progress in Estoril, and so much for those who said we would only make up the numbers this season. I'd also like to say well done to Cal Crutchlow and Scott Redding on their fourth place finishes today."