Michael Laverty finished the opening day of the Austin MotoGP in 21st position with the Irishman seeing plenty of room for improvement aboard the PBM machine.

Speaking exclusively to Crash.net Laverty admitted that a mistake on his fastest lap cost him time and that he was confident that the six tenths gap to Danilo Petrucci would be much closer on Saturday.

"I didn't quite get the lap time that I should have got there," said Laverty. "On my best lap I made a mistake and ran off the track but it was still my best time. I got in a bit hot at the end of the back straight and ran onto the kerbs on the outside so we should be a bit closer tomorrow.

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"We didn't quite get the set-up where it was comfortable, we went a little bit in the wrong direction on the front end. When I release the brake the load comes off the front and it starts to chatter a little bit during the last bit of the turn, that's the major issue," he added.

"We're also moving around on the rear a bit and I think that if we can settle that a little we can get some more punch out of the turns."

The battle within the CRT field seems to be much more spread out this weekend than was expected and while the production Honda was a target in Qatar it seems that won't be the case this weekend.

During FP2 Laverty trailed the Honda of Karel Abraham and saw the differences between the two bikes.

"Overall though it's coming. I'm not actually going as fast as last year in the race but we've a slightly different set-up to last year so I might go back to that and hopefully we can try that on the second bike tomorrow," he said.

"We should be able to close the gap to Petrucci but [Hector] Barbera seems to be a bit further ahead. The Hondas look to be a bit out of reach; I followed Abraham and he can turn the bike tighter and get on the power better. I'm struggling a bit in T1 this year and didn't have an issue there last year so we've got some work to do tomorrow."