Eugene Laverty gave a resounding thumbs-up to the new Honda swingarm update he received at Assen after finishing ahead of team-mate Nicky Hayden in free practice, setting the 17th fastest time.

MotoGP rookie Laverty, who has scored points at the previous three rounds of the championship, finally took delivery of the new part from HRC, which American rider Hayden has been using for the past three races.

The 29-year-old, who claimed his best result yet with a fine 12th place at Catalunya last time out, lapped in 1m 35.047s on the Open class RC213V-RS machine as he finished 1.5 seconds down on Dani Pedrosa.

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"We were able to work with the new swingarm today but in the first session this morning I preferred to do a long run on the old one so that we could compare," Laverty said.

"The feeling with the new one was very positive and I could already feel the potential. Obviously we are not going to perform miracles in one day, we need to go step by step but the first impressions are positive and it gave me the stability and confidence I was looking for.

"The grip in corner entry is incredible. We improved considerably from one session to the other and managed to set some consistent laps," he added.

"The bike is easier to ride now, I am more comfortable in the fast corners and I can follow other riders, which is useful for us to know exactly where we're at."

Hayden, meanwhile, was hampered by an electrical issue in the morning, which left the American rider on the back foot.

"I have good memories of Assen, this is a great circuit with a lot of history but today has't been a positive day for us," he said.

"We had a few technical issues this morning and I couldn't get out for my final run. The team has worked very hard but we didn't manage to find a solution so we switched to the second bike for the afternoon.

"My electronics engineer spent the day trying to fix our issues and we improved the lap times in the second session but the feeling and the rhythm wasn't perfect," Hayden added.

"I am losing a lot of time in T2, which is a sector that doesn't exactly hold many secrets. We will keep working tomorrow and try to improve."

Hayden was 18th fastest with a time of 1m 35.149s.