Michael Laverty to race for Paul Bird MotoGP team in 2013

Michael Laverty has accepted the offer to ride for the Paul Bird MotoGP CRT team next season.

The 31-year-old Toomebridge rider succeeds James Ellison, who rode for the British-based team this year.

Laverty also had options to stay with the Samsung Honda British Superbike team or return to Shaun Muir's Yamaha outfit, also in BSB.

The former British Supersport champion finished fifth in this year's British Superbike series.

Laverty moved into the frame with the Paul Bird team after reigning BSB champion Shane Byrne turned down the chance to return to MotoGP next year.

Last week Clogher rider Keith Farmer became the first Northern Ireland rider to confirm his participation in next year's British Superbike championship after finalising a deal with Cumbrian Bird's outfit.