ON THE same weekend as Paul Bird Motorsport's Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki BSB team claimed their third British Superbike Championship title with Shane Byrne, the Penrith-based PBMUK team were also in action at Motegi in Japan where James Ellison was contesting round 15 of the MotoGP World Championship.

And once again, the 31 year old from Kendal finished in the points to continue his impressive record of scoring in all bar five of the races run but perhaps the most pleasing aspect was that Ellison was able to run nearer the front of the CRT class aboard the Aprilia ART.

The former World Endurance and double European Superstock champion was making the team's Japanese debut and gradually improved in free practice to end up 16th in the third session but his qualifying was hampered by a crash early in proceedings which meant he started in 20th.

Undeterred, Ellison got a great start to battle with the leading CRT runners and was holding his own going into the final stages when he looked in a position to challenge. But in the end 14th position and two more World championship points was what he achieved to maintain his 18th place in the standings going into this weekend's Malaysian Grand Prix at Sepang.

Ellison said: "It's another points-scoring result and another step closer to the leading CRT teams this weekend so I'm pretty happy with the outcome.

“We were making big steps forward every session until a crash in qualifying on my first flying lap put us on the back foot again and I ended up 20th out of 22 on the grid.

“I got a really good start only to be punted wide a few times by another over-ambitious rider but once I got clear of him I made ground on Aleix Espargaro and Colin Edwards, passing a few riders along the way.

“It was a strong and consistent race and I'm happy with the whole team effort as usual so I’d like to congratulate Paul Bird, Shakey Byrne and the Rapid Solicitors Kawasaki team on wrapping the BSB title up in style!"

Phil Borley, technical director, said: "We can be satisfied with our result in Japan as we achieved our target of finishing closer to the leading CRT riders and scoring some more World championship points.

“James rode well and had a good race which fortunately was not handicapped too much by his qualifying position.

Finishing as third best CRT bike and just six seconds behind the class leader was good and hope we can continue the progress into Sepang this weekend."