Shane Byrne to test Aprilia ART bike in Valencia

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Triple British Superbike champion Shane Byrne will test for the Paul Bird Motorsport squad in next week’s much anticipated MotoGP test session at the Valencia track in Spain.

Byrne is a leading candidate to join Bird’s CRT squad next season, though he has yet to decide on his future plans with the option to stay and bid for a fourth BSB title still a serious possibility.

Bird recently confirmed he will continue with a two-man effort in BSB next season but his preference is for Byrne to move up to MotoGP.

Bird still plans to run a two-rider squad in MotoGP in 2013, with Byrne or former BSB champion Tommy Hill previously in the reckoning. Hill though sensationally ruled himself out of the running when he announced yesterday (Friday) that he will be taking a sabbatical from racing in 2013.

He still wants to run a second bike using an Aprilia motor that will run in his own chassis, which has been designed by Barry Ward of GPMS.

Colombian Yonny Hernandez has been linked with Bird’s squad for a while and the current FTR-Kawasaki rider is expected to agree terms in Valencia this weekend and an official announcement made later this week.

Bird’s current rider James Ellison, who raced with the threat of the axe over him for most of 2012, has been told he has no chance of being back next season.

Next week's two-day test will see Valentino Rossi's return to Yamaha, Marc Marquez's Repsol Honda debut and Bradley Smith's switch to the Monster Yamaha Tech 3 squad, but weather forecasts are predicting rain on both days.

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Matthew Birt

By Matthew Birt