Northern Ireland's Eugene Laverty feels he has proved he is more than just a 'Superbike rider' after completing his first races in MotoGP in his rookie season in the premier class on the Aspar Honda.

Laverty said his team treated him with respect right from the off after he joined the Spanish outfit from World Superbikes and was 'treated as a MotoGP rider from the beginning'.

The 28-year-old, who was 18th fastest on the RC213V-RS in free practice on Friday for the third round of the championship at the Termas de Rio Hondo circuit in Argentina, said: "That's the nice thing with the team because they've worked with me right from the Valencia test and they understood very quickly that 'Superbike rider' is only a tag.

Related Articles

"Because they were surprised in the first test at Valencia when I was carrying more brake pressure and lean right away than what the guys had been doing. So they've just been treating me like a MotoGP rider from the start.

"I guess the Superbike tag has been from guys that aren't working with me and don't know what's going on in the data. But that's the paddock isn't it? People talk," he added.

"But the team have been 100 per-cent supportive in that respect. They haven't treated me like I'm brain dead. They've understood I've come from a high level as well and we've had a good relationship from the start."

Reflecting on his day one performance in Argentina, Laverty said his lap time of 1m 40.846s didn't provide an accurate reflection of his true pace.

"The lap time didn't show how good we were, because the soft tyre was really only good for one or two laps and the traction control wasn't quite set for it. It really was holding me back," he explained.

"So it's nice to have a little bit more in reserve. A 40.8 on day one is not bad, with the potential for a mid-40. It's a new track and on day one we are already right there. That's nice, especially when it's been dirty and we haven't been able to ride the same.

"Everybody has had to alter how they ride today with these conditions. The track is pretty green. There's not much rubber down," he added.

"It was good experience on the Bridgestones because when I went out in first practice I really wasn't sure whether... we've all seen the clips from years ago where the guys got launched on corner entry.

"So I wasn't sure how hard to push, but in the end I was able to push, the tyres were moving and giving me good feedback. That'll be useful for similar conditions later in the year."

Laverty made some progress with chassis set-up in Austin and has gained more confidence to push the Honda harder this weekend.

"It's only when you start the season that you really start to understand the bike and make some headway. I'm working well with the team," he said.

"We made another solid change chassis-wise in Austin and we'll continue in that direction, just to allow me to push the bike how it needs to be pushed.

"We all hear the things about Marc's [Marquez] brake pressure, but in order to achieve that you need to find a setting that allows you to push it more. There is no point just trying to carry massive brake pressure because once you are on your arse, you are on your arse!

"You have to have a bike that is able to take it and that's what we are aiming towards. We improved braking in Austin but we need to try and get the turning back."