Paul Bird admitted he was surprised just how well Michael Laverty performed on his MotoGP testing debut with Paul Bird Motorsport this week. The Ulsterman finished the three-day test as the second fastest CRT rider behind Aspar’s Aleix Espargaro and put new teammate Yonny Hernandez in the shade.

The Colombian wasn’t riding at full fitness though after undergoing shoulder surgery during the winter and Bird was pleased with his performance under the circumstances. Attention now switches to the second Sepang test at the end of the month and Bird is looking forward to unveiling the team’s home built chassis.

“We have had a very successful test and I’m delighted with how everything has gone. I have been speaking to Phil and the riders on a daily basis and we have built up a brilliant rapport already. I shouldn’t be, because we have worked with him for three years previously and know how talented he is, but I’m surprised at just how well Michael has gone given his lack of experience with the bike, brakes and tyres at a track he’s never seen before. Yonny continues to impress us all despite his shoulder still not being 100%, he’s very much helping the team which is great and he’ll be fully fit by the start of the season.”

“The new bikes are nearly ready so we’ll have them at the next test and hopefully we can continue this great start. I’m more than happy, especially as we now have silenced a few of our doubters!”