With confirmation that PBM will retain Michael Laverty for a second season in MotoGP - alongside rookie signing Broc Parkes - the next focus is to confirm the team's 2014 machinery.

While Thursday's press release stated 'PBM-Aprilias', negotiations are still ongoing.

The options available are for PBM to run their own chassis with the Aprilia engine - an upgraded version of the bike that debuted this year - or to race as a factory Aprilia supported team with the full 2014 ART chassis and engine package.

But with rumours circulating that Ioda are close to confirming a deal with the Italian manufacturer, and Leon Camier as the second rider, it is highly likely that PBM will run their own chassis.

Laverty is well placed to comment about the potential of each bike. The 32-year-old spent much of his rookie season on the PBM before taking over a 2012-spec ART from former team-mate Yonny Hernandez for the final third of the year, then testing the 2014 ART after the season-ending Valencia round.

The Ulsterman had suffered chattering problems with the 2012 model and, while he had only had limited time on next year's ART, Laverty was happier with the feeling from the PBM chassis - which had benefitted from electronic updates to the control ECU system.

Speaking exclusively to Crash.net shortly before the official announcement of his 2014 deal, Laverty said: "One of the nicest things was having the upgrades for the PBM and actually seeing that the potential that I said we had at the start of the year was now apparent. It was way easier to stop and didn't wheelie as much and I could ride it so much more aggressively.

"I said from the word go that the bike didn't stop and that it made it difficult, but on the Monday I thought, 'Whoa, this is a different bike to ride,' and I had a good test on it. I did similar laps on the last day as Espargaro's best Aprilia laps so could get the most out of it and it was working well.

"I was really happy with how it was going and that was the first time that I felt that I could ride it aggressively and rear wheel steer. It was working good for me and I was setting a good rhythm on it. When I rode Espargaro's 2014 ART, I got 12 laps on the Wednesday, and I think that the speed trap speeds were only a couple of miles an hour slower than the Production Honda but with our engines from this year it was six or seven mph.

"I think that if Aprilia give us the Spec 4 engine from the start of next year we won't be too far away, but we're hoping for a Spec 5 and that may not arrive until June. We're not sure but it might be quite late before we get the pneumatic valves and stuff.

"So we'll still be at a horsepower deficit, but if we can improve the chassis and electronics and hopefully Aprilia give us some more horsepower than I think that we could be quite good. At the moment it's still up in the air because we could still be riding ARTs and that decision is still to be made."

But the Ulsterman admitted that his preferred option would be to run the PBM chassis.

"Definitely [the full ART] is still an option. As of last week Aprilia asked us to put a proposal to them for what we would need to run it. Personally I see it that Ioda will run the ARTs with Camier and Petrucci and we'll run the PBMs with Aprilia engines.

"I don't think that there is anything wrong with our chassis.

"The weight distribution and the electronics can be improved, but if we fix those and we bolt in the latest Aprilia engine I think that we would have a bike every bit as good as the ART and possibly even better.

"I'm hoping that we can continue with our project and Aprilia will up their game with the engines and that would be the ideal scenario for me."

While the full ART machines ran Aprilia's own electronics this year, the PBM bike raced with the brand new control ECU system - compulsory for the new Open class in 2014.

The upgraded former CRT class machines will take on the brand new Open class entries from Honda, Yamaha and Ducati.

CLICK HERE to read the full interview.

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