An exclusive interview with PBM MotoGP rider Michael Laverty, who scored three points during his rookie grand prix season, which began on the new PBM bike before a late switch to the full Aprilia ART.
Shortly after the interview, conducted earlier this week during a PBM BSB test at Cartagena, Laverty was officially confirmed as remaining with PBM in MotoGP for 2014, when he will be joined by new team-mate Broc Parkes...
What was the highlight of the year for you?
The highlight was probably scoring points on the PBM bike at Jerez. It's frustrating to say that the highlight was round three but we did start stronger and stagnated and didn't really improve towards the end of the year. We started the season pretty strong and it was nice to get points on the board with a brand new bike that early.
At the beginning of the season we were beating some established names like Colin Edwards and it was nice that we were in there battling with the CRTs at that point and for sure that was the happiest point in the season where I felt that we were competitive.
What about your own performance and your development as the year went on?
I felt that I stayed fairly consistent performance wise and I learned a lot. I learned how to manage the Bridgestone's more and get the most from the tyres. I learned how to set the GP bike up a bit better but I felt performance wise that I was consistent throughout the year but it was just that the rest of the guys moved on and that left me not quite as strong as I looked at the start. I wouldn't say that I deteriorated, I would just say that the rest progressed and my performance and the bike stayed the same.
I think that your first year, even speaking to Cal Crutchlow about it, that the first year is the hardest. There's so much to take in. There's new tracks and figuring out how to set-up the GP bike and be prepared to open your mind a little and be prepared to ride it a little bit different to how you rode anything else in the past. There's a lot to take in that way to change your style and change your approach but I think that I progressed as a rider as the season went on.
What were the adjustments that you had to make? Comparing you to Shakey today [at Cartagena] you were riding differently to try and get the bike upright earlier out of corners and some other things.
The biggest thing is how hard you can push the Bridgestone tyre and getting back here and getting back here on the BSB bike and getting used to the feeling from the Pirelli isn't the same and the Bridgestone front is out of this world. The carbon brakes and how hard you pull them and lean it over [are different] so it's a slightly different corner approach. You approach with so much brake on and you still have to keep the mid-corner speed and then get it upright and use the acceleration.
Overall how much load you put into the tyres, and you have to load them either with braking really deep or getting straight back on the throttle hard, is the biggest thing. The tyres are the most different thing because a CRT bike isn't a million miles away from a WSBK spec Superbike, I rode those. Getting on the bike the electronics are little more complex but actually being able to use those tyres to the limit is what takes time and more understanding.