Michael Laverty's MotoGP race debut on the Aprilia ART ended in disappointment when he was 'taken out' on the opening lap at Aragon.
Rookie Laverty has switched to the ART of former team-mate Yonny Hernandez, following the Columbian's move to Pramac, with Damian Cudlin handed Laverty's previous PBM-machine.
As high as 14th in free practice, Laverty qualified in 20th, 0.4s behind the next fastest ART of Aspar's Randy de Puniet. However the Ulsterman was caught up in an incident also involving Danilo Petrucci and Luca Scassa on the opening.
"It had been a good weekend up until the race, we improved with every session as I got more comfortable on the ART and the team adjusted the bike to suit me. We had the pace but unfortunately we never got to show it as I got taken out on the opening lap following a good start.
“It's frustrating when you're not at fault however it's a DNF nonetheless. I feel really positive about our potential on the ART and I'm really looking forward to the three flyaway races in Asia which kick off in a fortnight's time."
Cudlin also failed to finish, the German-based Australian - who had outpaced Ioda regular Lukas Pesek in the warm-up session - being sidelined by a gearbox issue.
"It's a real pity that my race came to an end so quickly as I was really looking forward to fighting with a couple of the guys in front of me, but that's the way it goes sometimes,” said Cudlin. “It was a difficult weekend but this is MotoGP and the level is very high! I really enjoyed being back in the GP paddock though, and the PBM team were fantastic to work for. I hope that with this experience under my belt, I can start to build and improve at the next race."
Technical director PBM Phil Borley added: "In racing some days just don't go your way and certainly in the race, nothing went well for us with both our riders completing less than three laps. The most frustrating thing was we could not see what our race pace would have been, both for Michael on the ART bike and Damian with his first race on the PBM bike.
“Michael made a good start and had made up some places when he was hit by another rider, resulting in a crash and Damian had some downshift problems, which he believed were a repeat of some issues we encountered in one of the sessions earlier. Despite our disappointment we will continue to work hard and hope for better fortune in Malaysia."
Round 15 of the MotoGP World Championship takes place on October 13 at Sepang.