New South Welshman Broc Parkes is set to be the only Australian on the MotoGP world championship grid next year after being picked up by Paul Bird Motorsport.
The 31-year-old will line up alongside returning MotoGP rider Michael Laverty of Northern Ireland on PBM’s CRT Aprilia machinery.
Parkes, twice a runner-up in the World Supersport Championship, has previously raced for the PBM team in World Superbikes in 2009.
He returned to Australia after more than a decade abroad this year to win the local FX-Superbike championship.
“Firstly, I’d like to say a massive thanks to Paul Bird for the opportunity to work with his team once again – I’m really looking forward to it,” Parkes said on Thursday.
“This is the premier class and it’s every rider’s dream to race in MotoGP.
“I know this is going to be a tough season but I’m certainly up for the challenge, I can’t wait to get started.”
Bird is hopeful Parkes’ pairing with Laverty will prove successful.
“We’ve done a lot of spade work in MotoGP over the past two seasons so the plan is to build on that and work with our partners, and Michael and Broc are very capable of delivering,” Bird said.
Parkes effectively replaces countryman Damian Cudlin, who was brought in by PBM to ride the final five rounds of the 2013 season.
Meanwhile Bryan Staring, Australia’s only full-time competitor on this year’s grid, has been let go by Gresini Honda and replaced by Moto2 runner-up Scott Redding for 2014.