PBM Selling MotoGP Grid Slots, Focusing On BSB

The PBM Team is set to leave MotoGP at the end of the 2014 season, and return to the British Superbike championship. Owner of the eponymous team Paul Bird has decided to expand his presence in BSB to add a second team, and withdraw from MotoGP altogether.

Bird spoke to both the British publication MCN and the German-language website Speedweek about his reasons for switching to BSB. Most of the backing for the PBM team comes from British sponsors, such as Rapid Solicitors. Bird told MCN that their sponsors would rather see PBM in BSB, as a British team with British sponsors. But Bird also mentioned to Speedweek the difficulties of competing in MotoGP as a private team. Those problems had been there in 2012, when PBM first joined MotoGP, but the situation is worse now. Without factory backing, it was impossible to be competitive, he said.

There is also a financial motive for leaving. With both Suzuki and Aprilia joining MotoGP in 2015, grid slots are at a premium. Bird had tried to sell his grid slots for this season in 2013, without much success. At the time, he was rumored to be asking for 3 million euros for the two places, but the buyers, rumored to include Marc VDS Racing, were not forthcoming. Bird has more hope of finding a buyer this time around, though the asking price is now nearer to 2 million euros for the pair. PBM will not be selling them directly, but instead, will auction them off through IRTA, the teams association which handles all entries into MotoGP.

There were two reasons for Bird to sell his slots indirectly via IRTA, rather than dealing directly with Aprilia. The first was that he believed he would get more money for the slots by allowing IRTA to auction them, rather than trying to do it himself. The second was that he was not keen to deal with Aprilia directly, as felt the Italian factory had let his team down this year. "They [Aprilia] would rather talk to Dorna than to me," Bird told Speedweek. "Apart from that, they have given us zero help this year." Promises of assistances made over the winter and during the season had not been fulfilled.

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"Without factory backing, it was impossible to be competitive, he (Bird) said."
This is undoubtedly true - and one wonders why anybody continues to persevere with a team that has zero chance of winning, or even achieving a podium position - which is the situation for the majority of the MotoGP entrants. Life's enigmas are perplexing.

While the podium is always the ultimate goal of any competing team, teams and especially sponsors are aware that there is still exposure to the "not-the-best" teams which still has value, whether its marketing or r & d.

When hasn't it been impossible to be competitive without factory backing? Some names are consistent from decade to decade, some are added, some are lost, but let's be clear: the names behind all the winners were those of factories.

Why do those with no chance of winning go racing? Well, damn, if only successful people should be doing whatever it is they're doing, what is everyone else supposed to do? Watch? As Clint Eastwood said, "A man's gotta know his limitations."

LIke it or not, at some point in the race--or life--most of us better get used to the idea that second or third--or tenth--is the best we'll ever finish, so we'd better cherish podiums when we get them and figure out other ways to find our bliss overall. Like winning financially and running a successful business in an industry you love.

Winning can't be the only rational reason for racing, or there'd only be one or two teams still racing at season's end every year.

It seems that everyone has taken it for granted that Aprilia is returning to MotoGP one year ahead of schedule, but I have my doubts. Despite all these rumours circulating freely, Aprilia is staying very tight lipped. That probably means that they are yet to decide. I can't see what they have to gain by coming in one year early with no firm agenda or a properly designed MotoGP prototype. Why come in as a factory to race the old CRT machine, even if they put pneumatic valves and a seamless gear shifter? I mean I remember that both Suzuki and Kawasaki took to pneumatic valves before Honda or Yamaha did. Honda and Yamaha shifted to the said valves not to beat Kawasaki and Suzuki but to beat the dominant Ducati in the hands of Casey Stoner. We also know that Ducati has had a seamless gearbox before Yamaha had but were in no position to challenge Yamaha with that. I do not believe that the addition of small performance improving technologies are the way to go for Aprilia. They will need to do things very differently to get into MotoGP. So Aprilia coming in one year early? Can't see the point. And this thing about Paul Bird selling grid slots could be more of a ploy used by Dorna to hurry Aprilia into coming into MotoGP earlier than they intended. This argument is a huge guess supported by no empirical evidence, so don't take the last part too seriously. But I am truly flummoxed by this whole thing.

IMO they will return because they're a racing company. And loosing TV time to main domestic competitor Ducati is no longer an option. Yes they re good in WSBK, but in the big picture, WSBK is an obscure series. it gets no time or ink in mainstream media at all. Due to their lack of ambition, they allready lost Dall'Igna. Now it's time to fight back. it will be extremely tough, but try they must!

With two major manufacturers looking for grid spots next year wouldn't you be able to sell said grid spots at a premium?
So now that they're highly in demand you're going to ask for less money?
Or did I miss something and look really foolish? Wouldn't be the first time

As long factorys are involved in any king of racing and with the money they have currently available, you don't have the slightest change in beating them.
Especialy when four strokes and the electronics used these days, are involved, you just simply can forget to become competitive, are get a podium finish even insight.

I tend to agree with R6rider.....more demand this year but the slots are going for a reported cool million euros cheaper? Bargain!

I'm a little disappointed that PDM are pulling out but on the other hand I'm a little disappointed every motogp when they are cruising around the back with little hope of even a points finish.

This all smacks a little of pushing for Aprilla to confirm grid positions for next year....and as Avsatishchandra said, what exactly are the benefits of that during next season?

As previously mentioned, when factories are involved in racing the fate of 'proper' racing teams is always uncertain. They can use their muscle to bully teams off the grid, as has happened with PBM in my opinion.
They promise support but don't give it and the team has to give up to make way for guess who, Aprillia!
There is far to much factory domination and I'm sure that if MotoGP was run by people who's business was racing and nothing more, the sport would be in a better place!
Factories could supply teams but their influence needs to be restricted, they should work within the rules and have no part in making them!

One possible reason for Aprilia is to enter MotoGP as soon as possible is just how badly PBM and Ioda Racing are making Aprilia look. Regardless of fault or blame, it gives the appearance of abject failure.

Should the Aprilia Factory join, it would be surprising if they remained the last three bikes on almost every grid. Thus, even a minor improvement could be seen as better PR than the damaging current scenario.

that PBM extended its stay in MotoGP in order to be able to sell these slots. There is clearly no other reason. I don't think media exposure for "Speedy Solicitors" is that great. I asked a lot of friends with whom I watch the races together and nobody had noticed the logo on.
Aprilia is wise to return one year earlier and use the experience to develop a really good bike.If not outright competitive, at least on a par with the best Open.
As proved by the uphill fight Suzuki is facing two years now...