Michael Laverty to replace Marco Melandri in Aprilia MotoGP team

Michael Laverty
Michael Laverty rode in the MotoGP class for two seasons with Paul Bird Motorsport

Michael Laverty is to join his brother Eugene in the MotoGP class for this weekend's German round of the series.

The 34-year-old has been named as a wildcard replacement for Marco Melandri, who has parted ways from the Aprilia Racing Team by mutual consent.

Laverty has served as a test rider for the Aprilia outfit and has been racing for the Tyco BMW team in this season's British Superbike Championship.

Eugene has been riding for Aspar Honda in motorcycling's premier racing class.

The Northern Irishman will compete in the German Grand Prix at Sachsenring this weekend, his first appearance in MotoGP since being part of Paul Bird Motorsport's team, for whom he rode for two seasons.

"I'm excited to be back in MotoGP. Competing against the regular guys in MotoGP is a tough task but I am relishing the opportunity.

"I have been riding with the Aprilia test team so I am comfortable with the Aprilia RS-GP machine and the Bridgestone tyres.

"Firstly I must adapt the race bikes to suit me and then look to keep progressing throughout the weekend."

The Lavertys are the second pair of brothers to compete in this year's championship, alongside Aleix and Pol Espargaro.

The last time that two brothers competed in the premier class in the same race was in Australia in 1994, when Mick and Scott Doohan, and Bernard and Marc Garcia were on the grid.

The County Antrim man is unsure whether the agreement with Aprilia wil amount to anything more than a one race deal.

"We haven't discussed that yet. I'm not sure what Aprilia have planned for the rest of the season," he said.

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