The final round of the MotoGP World Championship took place at Valencia this weekend with the PBM MotoGP Team hoping to end the season in style after a run of bad luck but once again, they didn't enjoy the best of fortunes at the Spanish track.
Ulsterman Michael Laverty was once again aboard the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene sponsored Aprilia ART which he has campaigned in recent rounds and after a solid performance throughout Free Practice, qualified on row seven of the grid whereas Australian Damian Cudlin continued on the Rapid Solicitors and Silkolene sponsored PBM machine and qualified one row further back.
For the opening couple of laps, Laverty circulated in 22nd place as he looked to move forward but on lap three, Cudlin's race ended when he crashed out. Laverty meanwhile continued his progression up the leaderboard, climbing inside the top 20 by lap nine and steadily making progress to cross the line in 17th place at the end of the 30-lap race.
It was Laverty's 14th top 20 placing of the season and although he couldn't add to his points tally, it cemented a positive rookie season for the Toome, County Antrim rider and his Penrith, Cumbria based team.
Laverty ended the season in 25th overall in the MotoGP World Championship standings in his debut season. In the Claiming Rules Teams (CRT) class, Laverty finished tenth whereas PBM claimed eighth in the Constructors Championship and 12th in the Teams Championship in their debut season with their brand new British-built machine.
Michael Laverty: "So that's my first season in MotoGP done, we've had both highs and lows but overall I've enjoyed the whole experience. The final weekend was a difficult one for me, I was struggling for grip and seemed to hit a wall pace wise on Friday afternoon. I ran consistent lap times throughout the race but I just seemed to be spinning and not moving forward off the turns. I held Scassa at bay to finish 17th but it was difficult to do so with so little grip. I'd like to thank Paul Bird for everything and the whole PBM team for all their hard work throughout the season."
Damian Cudlin: "It's a shame to end my MotoGP adventures with PBM in the gravel bed but sometimes that happens when you're pushing the limits. The bike didn't work as well with a full fuel load but I tried to push on anyway and I just over stepped it before the fuel load lightened up enough. Although I'd hoped for better results, I've really enjoyed my time here at PBM. I'd like to thank them for the opportunity and would love to work with them again in the future sometime."
Phil Borley, Technical Director: "Disappointing is a word we have used far too much this year but it could also be used to describe this weekend's results as well as our season overall. In today's race Michael suffered with a rear grip issue, which affected both his pace and possibility of challenging for a points scoring position and Damian had an unfortunate crash early on so we did not get to see his potential. Although we have enjoyed some positive moments this year and can be proud of a few achievements, we have also had to endure many negative times which have been detrimental to our progress. I would like to thank the people who have given their best to make PBM's MotoGP project successful and I hope we are able to show in the next few days our potential if all the necessary ingredients are correct, to both continue and improve our involvement."