Paul Bird waiting for improved Aprilia deal
British team boss Paul Bird says he will have no hesitation to quit MotoGP unless he can get increased support from Italian factory Aprilia.
Bird met with Aprilia boss Ramono Albesiano last Saturday in Valencia to try and secure a 2014 deal that included significantly increased factory support for a two-rider squad.
With Aprilia’s number one squad - the Spanish-based Aspar project - switching to Honda machinery for next season following the shock defection of Gigi Dall’Igna to Aprilia, the Noale factory is looking for a new outlet to run its ART machine.
Bird has run one ART machine in 2013 and one Aprilia-powered bike featuring his own British designed and built frame.
But he is willing to ditch his DIY chassis project if he can secure a bigger commitment from Aprilia.
Bird, who could run Randy de Puniet and Michael Laverty if he secures an Aprilia deal, told MCN: “We want to be more involved otherwise we can’t do it. I will just stop it and run the BSB team. If it costs a lot of money to stay then I don’t have any interest unless they give me more help. I am not prepared to self-fund it to the point they are talking.
The deal they have offered is very similar to what I have now where I am just a customer. They are committed to staying, so I am sure they will come back to us with something. But we need serious money to do what they want to do. It is a business for them but I might as well as go and lease whatever I want, so they need to step up.
They have to give me parts, engines and some staff. I’ve told them exactly what I want. If they don’t come up with something better then I will just walk away. They have made me an offer but it is not what I am looking for, so there needs to be a re-think. Ramano has been to my workshop and I think he was surprised how serious the set-up is. But I thought they would come to me with a better offer.”
French rider de Puniet is testing a 2014-spec ART machine for PBM in Valencia today.