PBM Denies Rumors Of Ellison Replacement

In one of the oddest press releases we have ever received at MotoMatters (though well short of the Liberty press release issued a day or so ago), Paul Bird Motorsport has denied rumors - started by team owner Paul Bird himself - that Shane Byrne is to replace James Ellison in PBM's MotoGP team. Bird told Bikesportnews at the BSB round at Oulton Park that Byrne would be replacing Ellison at Le Mans, "to get a second opinion". Bird was today forced to issue a press release denying that that was the plan, that PBM are committed to racing with Ellison for the 2012 season, and that both Byrne and Stuart Easton remain as test riders for the PBM team. 

The idea of replacing one rider whose greatest shortcoming is currently a lack of time on the bike with another rider with even less time on the bike seemed madness from the very start. Confirming the team's original plan is an outbreak of common sense. If Bird was truly concerned about Ellison's performance aboard the Aprilia ART machine, all he need do is give the Cumbrian some more testing time on the bike.

Below is the press release from PBM:

Statement From Paul Bird Motorsport

Following recent speculation regarding James Ellison's participation in the 2012 MotoGP World Championship, the Paul Bird Motorsport Team (PBM UK) wishes to clarify that James will continue to race the CRT-specification Aprilia ART starting with the French Grand Prix at Le Mans on May 20th.

In order to assist with development with the project, the team considered utilising the services of another rider and whilst this remains an option either in future testing or in a race, the focus of the team will concentrate on James continuing to develop the machine in the forthcoming Grands Prix.

Phil Borley, Technical Director: "It was unfortunate that James didn't finish the race in Estoril but he proved what the machine was capable of in Jerez. This is a long-term project and we have to look at all options available to us in achieving our goals, which both the team and James understand. Our concentration is now on getting the technical help we need and to make more progress at Le Mans and Catalunya."

As required by MotoGP regulations, the two nominated test riders for the PBM UK team are confirmed as Shane Byrne and Stuart Easton.


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I heard and saw him say it and the interviewer clarified it; 'I'm taking a difficult managment decision, and it's likely that Shane will be riding the bike at Le Mans'. May not be the exact words but that was the clear message. He went on to say that he wasn't convinced the bike had a bad chatter problem, as Ellison has maintained more than once.

I can only imagine that James has picked up the phone and doth protest at being stood down on television.

Not very fair on Shakey either.

I hope they can sort this out; James had a very good season in BSB in 2009 when he was unlucky to be team-mates with a very in-form Leon Camier.

...... but I saw with my own eyes & heard with my own ears that PB said Shakey was going to ride at Le Man's to try and help the team understand the new machine.

This was later confirmed by @Moto_Pod with a recent interview by @MotoPodMartin talking to Tony Carter who was (understandably) really happy that ES2 got the scoop on the this breaking news.

It would seem Mr Bird is confusing himself as well as us all.

This is nearly as big a back step as when HRC got backlash for forgetting that 2000 - 2005 ever took place !

I'd like it noted that I think that PBM are doing a sterling job putting a bike on the grid, and also the work they are doing in BSB. I've no issues with the team or the riders.

I do however have an issue with Paul Bird. Is he actually for real? All he's done is slate poor James Ellison from the word go (it seems to me). And to say what he said at Oulton Park over the weekend was just another gaff in an ever increasing list (imo). Essentially what he's saying is "James isn't trying hard enough and we want someone on the bike". Shocking that hes said this in public. Even more amazing was his "Casey Stoners got chatter problems, and he's winning races" remark. Staggering.

I think that the Press Officer for the team needs to step in here....

For FREE - from a current rider familiar with the tyres, the circuits, chatter and riding in motoGp races. One who was damn nearly on the bike itself. Oh, and who is also a second-time and the current WC..

yet somehow consistent with what I've read over the years regarding Mr Bird.

with all due respect to James Ellison's abilities in this, the elite class, he's performing as I'd expect. I don't quite understand what Paul Bird expects?

It's almost exactly a year ago that a WSB Kawasaki Team transporter was found to have some surprising hospitality consumables and security hardware on board and 4 PBM employees ended up helping the UK Border Agency with their inquiries[1]. Any suggestion that Paul Bird had been sampling such hospitality consumables or that James Ellison held a similar piece of security hardware to Paul Bird's head while forcing him to read the wording of James' contract would of course be a vicious smear on the character of all concerned.

Does make one wonder though, doesn't it.

[1]Whatever happened to that story? Did it have a happy ending?

Whatever happened to the news story last year that had Guy Coulon driving the Tech3 truck and illegally backing-up at a toll booth and killing that motorcyclist who was waiting in line behind the truck?