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well, look what I ran across this moring - quotes from Bird after Qatar stating he would replace Ellison dated April 12th (www.biscuittinmedia.com/hello-james-ellison-goodbye/) . As I said earlier, I don't buy for a second Aprilia can request who rides the bike as Bird is a paying customer and they have no right to request anything.
One race in and Bird was already talking about Ellison having a limited amount of time to prove himself and move up the timing sheets or he would be moving on. Ellison has another two rounds, according to Bird. "He came to us saying he was a MotoGP rider, that he really wanted to ride the bike. He worked with Mick (Shanley) his crew chief before, they understand each other and get on, but James has to pick it up. I could put Shakey (Shane Byrne) on that same bike tomorrow and you know we would get better results," said Bird with characteristic bluntness. "He's got Jerez and Estoril to pick things up."