Motorcycling - Former MotoGP rider Laverty sets up all-British Moto3 team

FILE PHOTO: PBM MotoGP rider Michael Laverty of Northern Ireland is seen in his garage during the first free practice session of the French Grand Prix in Le Mans circuit, central France May 17, 2013. REUTERS/Benoit Tessier (FRANCE - Tags: SPORT MOTORSPORT)

(Reuters) - Former MotoGP rider Michael Laverty announced on Friday the creation of a new British-backed Moto3 outfit after taking over the assets of the departing Petronas Sepang Racing Team (SRT).

The Vision Track Honda Racing team, competing two tiers below the main MotoGP category, aims to help young British riders get to the top.

"For some time now it has become especially difficult for British youngsters to make it, without a home-grown team competing at the top level," said Laverty.

"Far too often young British riders have been overlooked because of a lack of sponsorship or financial support," added the Northern Irishman.

"We know there is a lot of talent out there just waiting for an opportunity. We believe that with the Vision Track Honda team we can offer them a more supportive route into Grand Prix racing."

Cal Crutchlow, the first Briton to win a premier class grand prix since the late Barry Sheene in 1981, retired from full-time racing at the end of last year.

There are no British riders on the MotoGP grid for this weekend's San Marino Grand Prix at Misano but Jake Dixon and Sam Lowes are in Moto2 and John McPhee in Moto3.

SRT announced in August it would cease operations at the end of the year, although principal Razlan Razali and team director Johan Stigefelt are continuing in MotoGP with a new entity.

"At the end of the season I’ll purchase all the (Moto3) material, all the bikes, all the equipment, the flight cases, the garage. I’ll try and keep on as many of the staff as I can," Laverty told BT Sport, where he also works as a pundit.

"There’s a lot of British staff in there that were going to be out of work, so it would be good if we can keep them on board."

(Reporting by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis)

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