The annual game to fill seats at small MotoGP teams is almost over with the announcement Wednesday by Paul Bird Motorsport that Michael Laverty will stay with the team in 2014 to race an Aprilia machine, with former PBM World Superbike rider Broc Parkes joining as his new teammate.
Laverty finished 25th in the MotoGP standings as a rookie, with a best finish of 13th at Jerez on PBM's Aprilia Claiming Rules Team machine.
It's unclear what spec of machine Aprilia will supply to PBM, as the team will determine whether to use an Aprilia chassis or its in-house frame after testing. But Laverty said Aprilia will provide more regular engine updates in 2014.
Parkes will be the only Australian on the MotoGP grid next season. He is a two-time World Supersport runner-up and raced in 2001-02, 2009-10 and the last two events of 2013 in World Superbike. Parkes competed for PBM in 2009 aboard a Kawasaki for Bird's team. American Ben Bostrom has long said that Parkes is one of the most underated riders in world championship (the pair raced the WSBK/WSS series together).
There's only one open seat in MotoGP for 2014, at Ioda Racing, and it probably won't be cold for long. WSBK veteran Leon Camier--a Keith Code protege--is expected to be announced soon as the rider of the team's ART-Aprilia.