Michael Laverty will start 20th for the Catalan Grand Prix but the PBM rider is confident of a strong performance on race day.
Having used a high mileage engine throughout Friday and used hard compound tyres during the morning practice session the rookie felt that if it wasn't for encountering traffic he could have gone much faster.
"We've improved the setup of the bike and I feel quite strong this weekend," Laverty told Crash.net
. "I was a bit disappointed with qualifying, I was held up a bit, but I think that we've got pretty decent race pace at the moment.
“I think that I can race Barbera [15th] and if I can get a good start I can race with de Puniet [13th] and I haven't been at that pace all year, maybe for the second half of Jerez but not in the early laps.
“That's what I'm aiming for tomorrow and I think I've got the potential for that."
Laverty also went on to say that he was very confident with the harder tyres. Whereas most riders have struggled to make the hard rear tyre work for more than a handful of laps the Ulsterman felt that it was actually a faster tyre for him but traffic on his opening stint in the 15 minute Q1 session meant that he never had a chance to show his true speed.
"The harder tyre was better for me," said Laverty. "I am usually better on the second lap on it but when I got one lap on it I was then held up on the second, third and fourth lap and it was past it's best so I came in and went to the soft tyre. I set my best time on it but it wasn't as good as the harder tyre. I did my best time on it but could have done better on the hard tyre."
The MotoGP rookie scored his first MotoGP points with 13th place in the previous Spanish round, at Jerez.By Stephen English
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