Eugene Laverty was far from pleased to qualify in 19th place for the MotoGP race at Indianapolis but is relieved to have recovered a good feeling under braking with his Aspar Honda.

The Northern Irishman showed signs of promise in Saturday morning's FP3 session as he lapped less than a hundredth of a second off the top 'Open' Honda.

The first to admit he has yet to master the art of setting a fast one off lap time, Laverty has his work cut out starting from the seventh row but feels he is ready to challenge Jack Miller and Hector Barbera for the top 'Open' honours.

Related Articles

"It wasn't a fantastic qualifying position but it was positive after yesterday when I made some progress," said Laverty. "We made some more progress this morning. I didn't get that one lap time like some of the other guys but I'm feeling quite comfortable on the bike compared to the previous rounds.

"It's just finding that one lap, guys like Hector Barbera are good at that. I feel comfortable doing one lap after the other in the race. It would have been nice to have been on the sixth row. It's a long way back as it is anyway but the rhythm is pretty good and I feel comfortable on the bike again for the first time in a while.

"In free practice three and four when it was hot we were putting in a good pace and at the end they put in a fast pace on soft tyres. My rhythm is consistent so my aim is to try and fight with the guys.

"I think we can chase Jack [Miller]. Barbera, the other 'Open', has been that little bit stronger than us all weekend but again it's one lap with him. We're not quite sure what the pace will be but I want to fight for that 'Open' class win in the second half of the year. It's not out of reach. It's going to be tough to beat Barbera but we're going to try."

Asked in which areas he specifically improved on Saturday morning, Laverty mentioned his strength when braking as the main area. Some laps following pole position man Marc Marquez confirmed the improvements.

"We worked yesterday a lot to improve the braking. We improved it this morning a step further. That's where we've lost a lot recently. I feel like I've regained that strength again that we had in Argentina/Jerez time when we really were strong.

"That's what a learning year is for. It's my rookie year and we went a little bit in one direction and now I've regained my strength in braking. Even when I was with Marquez in free practice four I felt like I could brake strong like him. That's important. Now for the second half of the year we've regained our braking strength and now we can continue to build on that."