Following the release of the official entry lists by the FIM last week, PBM UK is now able to confirm that both Columbian rider Yonny Hernandez and Britain's Michael Laverty will ride in MotoGP for the Penrith-based team in 2013.
After their rookie season in 2012 with James Ellison, Britain's only MotoGP World Championship team is expanding to two riders in the Claiming Rules Teams (CRT) class having finalised contracts with the riders.
The deal will see 24-year-old Hernandez, from Medelln, on the Aprilia ART campaigned by Ellison last season with 31-year-old Laverty, from Toome in Northern Ireland, aboard a brand new machine being developed by the PBM UK team, and headed up by Technical Director Phil Borley.
Hernandez raced in Moto2 during 2010 and 2011, claiming a best result of sixth at both Sachsenring and Valencia before graduating to MotoGP last season where he scored a best result of ninth at Indianapolis.
Laverty is a former British Supersport Champion who raced in the class for the PBM team as MonsterMob Ducati in 2004 before graduating to British Superbikes with the same team as Stobart Honda in 2005 and 2006 and it was during that first season where he gained his first two BSB podiums.
The expansion is part of a long term plan by team owner Paul Bird in MotoGP to develop an all-British bike and with Laverty's inclusion, he has kept his pledge to run a British rider, despite having a number of top foreign riders interested. The team will also be running a brand new colour scheme which will be unveiled prior to testing next year.
The PBM UK MotoGP World Championship Team will run in conjunction with their commitment in British Superbikes which will see 2012 BSB Champion Shane 'Shakey' Byrne looking to defend his title alongside 2012 Superstock 1000 champion Keith Farmer on Rapid Solicitors Kawasakis.
Yonny Hernandez: "I am really looking forward to next season and especially the first test when I can ride my ART bikes and start work with Paul Bird and the PBM UK team. I have high expectations for the season with my goal to finish the highest placed CRT rider in the championship."
Michael Laverty: "I'm really excited about racing in the 2013 MotoGP series; I'd like to thank Paul and the guys at PBM UK for giving me this opportunity. I will be riding an Aprilia powered PBM machine with the new chassis and control electronics, I can't wait to get started pre-season testing at Sepang in early February. I will have to adapt to the Bridgestone tyres and carbon brakes plus learn a few new circuits along the way but I hope to be challenging for top CRT honours. There are some experienced riders on CRT bikes so I am certainly not underestimating the challenge. It's great to be back with the PBM team, having spent three years there I should easily slot back in, next season makes PBM the team I've spent the longest with so far in my career. It is going to be an interesting season with a lot to learn but I'm really up for the challenge."
Paul Bird, Team Owner: "We have now finalised all the details of the contracts and I'm delighted to announce that both Yonny and Michael will be riding in MotoGP for us next season. We learned a lot this season and we plan on building on that experience as we want to challenge for top CRT honours and I see no reason why we can't. It's certainly going to be a very busy year for us, that's for sure!"
Press release courtesy of PBM UK