PBM UK rider James Ellison saved one of his best rides until the very last Grand Prix of the season when the Cumbrian rider claimed a brilliant ninth place at today’s Gran Premio Generali de la Comunitat Valenciana.
The 31 year old from Kendal struggled during the weather-hit free practice and qualifying to start from 20th position on the grid aboard the CRT-specification Aprilia ART but it was in a dramatic race that the former World Endurance and double European Superstock Champion excelled.
Opting for wet tyres at the start, Ellison made a storming start to run in seventh place in the early stages as he diced it out with World Champion Jorge Lorenzo amongst others but as the track dried, like many other riders, he went into the pits to change to the bike with dry tyres.
Re-emerging in 16th place, James gradually battled his way up the leaderboard as the track gradually dried to overtake nine-times World Champion Valentino Rossi and held onto ninth place until the end of the 30-lap race at the Spanish track and in doing so, was first Aprilia home taking third in the CRT class.
The result equalled the ninth place James scored in Malaysia last month and took his tally to 12 points scoring rides in the 18GPs, including three times in the top ten, to consolidate his 16th position in the final standings and fourth in CRT. The result also saw the Penrith-based PBM UK team finish a creditable 11th in the Teams Championship in their rookie season in MotoGP.
James Ellison: “Well, I’m not going to lie, it was another emotional race today, a lot of feelings came out as I was riding round knowing it was my last GP and knowing my dad wasn’t here to see me do so well and knowing that everything I have worked so hard for all year has come to an end. I’ve really enjoyed working with the PBM UK team and will miss every single one of them especially my garage crew of Phil, Mick, Dave, Dan, Brucie and Glen as we have grown so close through the year enjoying the good times and sticking together through the bad. I’d like to thank Paul Bird for the opportunity this year, Kelly for her hard work behind the scenes and everyone else that made my return to the premier class possible. There are too many to list but I’d like to thank you all individually and you know who you are. Regarding the race I think we made the right decision by starting on wets and pulling in for slicks early on, a ninth place and ninth fastest lap was a great way to end the season. As for the future, who knows, but I will be racing a motorcycle in 2013.”
Phil Borley, Technical Director: “Another very good ride by James today which was achieved again in challenging conditions and to finish the last race of the season in the top ten, equalling our best results and consolidating our fourth position in the CRT rider classification is really satisfying. Our thanks go to James and all the team for their work this year, 2012 has certainly been a memorable year for Paul Bird Motorsport. We look forward to the challenges ahead and will work hard to improve on what we have learned this season.”
Pictures attached (courtesy of Ben Davies/Gold and Goose)
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