MotoGP rookie Eugene Laverty has set himself a target of finishing amongst the top three Open class machines from the off in Qatar this weekend.

The former World Superbike frontrunner feels he has made strong progress with the Drive M7 Aspar Honda during pre-season testing and the unassuming Irishman is eager anticipating his race debut in the premier class under the floodlights at the Losail International Circuit on the RC213V-RS.

"Pre-season testing has gone really well as we've made steady progress every time that I've ridden the bike. I've gelled really well with both the Open Honda and the Drive M7 Aspar Team so I'm excited about the challenge that lies ahead of us," said Laverty.

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"The final test at Losail finished really well, which bodes well for round one at the same circuit. It is difficult to say what my goal is in terms of overall position because the field is so strong this season. However, within the Open category I want to be fighting for the top three positions from the beginning.

"I enjoy the Losail circuit and our bike suits the circuit very well so I want to start the season with a strong result."