Paul Bird: “Ellison can kick on now”

By Matthew Birt -

MotoGP

 24 May 2012 14:40

Paul Bird believes James Ellison’s confidence will have soared and his results continue to improve after the British rider finished top CRT rider for the first time in Le Mans last weekend.

Ellison finished 11th in a rain-lashed race in France to deliver his best performance of the season, shortly after being heavily criticised by team boss Bird for a lacklustre start to 2012 on the new Aprilia ART machine.

After the Cumbrian rider withdrew from the Estoril race in Portugal earlier this month with a severe chatter issue, Bird threatened to axe Ellison for Le Mans and draft in his top BSB rider Shane Byrne.

The pair cleared the air prior to the Le Mans race and Ellison timed his first points-scoring finish to perfection, with Bird watching from pitlane in France.

Bird said his threat to replace Ellison and subsequent criticism of the 31-year-old was blown out of proportion and he told MCN: “I was only having a bit of fun and it obviously got a bit blown out of proportion.

"After five minutes it is all forgotten with me. I felt I needed to have words and James knows he needed a kick up the arse but it has worked well and the whole team is really happy after Le Mans.

"I think he will kick on from here now. He just needed some self-belief and I am chuffed to bits with him because he had to ride hard to get that result.

"That will probably do him the world of good and I’m chuffed to bits that we were the first CRT because that gives the team a bit of credibility in the paddock.”