Michael Laverty will make his MotoGP debut in 2013 after he was confirmed at Paul Bird Motorsport alongside Yonny Hernandez. The Ulsterman has been a frontrunner in British Superbikes in recent years but will now join the premier class on two wheels riding the team’s home-built chassis, a challenge he can’t wait to take on.

“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.”

Hernandez moves across from the Blusens Avintia team where he impressed during his rookie season, winning the CRT battle in Indianapolis. The Colombian was fifth overall in that particular class last season and is setting his sights much higher in 2013.

“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.”

Team Owner Paul Bird has similar ambitions as the Penrith-based squad expands to two riders for the first time.

“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!”