Michael Laverty crashes out in Malaysia MotoGP round

Toomebridge rider Michael Laverty is set to remain in MotoGP with the Paul Bird Motorsport team for the 2014 season.

Michael Laverty crashed out unhurt at the Malaysian MotoGP round in Sepang after earlier being handed a ride-through penalty for jumping the start.

Riding the ART bike for the Paul Bird Motorsport team for the second time, Laverty started from 19th on the grid.

The Toomebridge rider was forced to pit within three laps as a result of his penalty but fell off on the final hairpin on lap 13 of the race.

Dani Pedrosa won the race from Marc Marquez and Jorge Lorenzo.

Valentino Rossi was fourth and British rider Cal Crutchlow sixth.

Repsol Honda rider Marquez now leads the championship by 43 points from fellow Spaniard Jorge Lorenzo, with Pedrosa, also from Spain, 11 points behind Lorenzo in third.

For Laverty, there was only disappointment as he failed to finish for the second race in succession, having crashed on the first lap at Aragon two weeks ago.

"Things didn't quite go my way as Hector Barbera jumped the start in front of me, and I instinctively dropped the clutch and jerked forward. Unfortunately any movement before the lights is deemed a jump start." explained Laverty.

"I was up to 15th position but the ride-through penalty ruined any chance of scoring points which we had the pace to do today. I then had a small crash pushing hard trying to catch the guys in front. Hopefully a bit of luck comes our way next weekend in Phillip Island."

Despite a disappointing season, Laverty indicated last week that he expects to remain in the blue riband class of world motorcycling with the Paul Bird team next season.

The former British Superbike rider has picked up just three points this season, thanks to a 13th-place finish at Jerez in Spain in May.

The next round of the series is at Phillip Island next week, with further races at Motegi in Japan and Valencia in Spain still to come.

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