Eugene Laverty was delighted to convert his top 'Open' machine pace in qualifying to a race result as he fended off Nicky Hayden and four others in a race-long battle for a fighting 14th place.

For the first time in his debut season in the premier class, Laverty finished as the top 'Open' machine after "focussing on the track in front of me" and maintaining a strong rhythm.

"Even in other race weekends we've been strong in practice and then in the 15 Qualifying it would go to pot," said a relieved Laverty. "It was nice yesterday that I focussed and did my own lap. In the race today I forgot everything else that was going on around me and rode my own race.

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"It was a race of three parts. In the beginning the bike was ok. In the mid part I started to lose grip. Then in the end it improved so I was able to ride my bike like I did in qualifying yesterday. I didn't try to get a tow, I just focussed on the track in front of me and that's the best way for me."

The Northern Irishman's future has been the subject of intense speculation in recent weeks. Although close to a full season through a two-year deal, funding issues in the Aspar team have led to whispers suggesting his place may be at risk.

While the team have discussed the possibility of Ducati leasing a pair of GP14.2s for 2016, it appears Laverty is in line for one of the seats. With this in mind, the Northern Irishman admitted the result couldn't have come at a better time.

"This has been the first weekend where I've been fast in FP1, fast all weekend then fast in the race. It was the complete weekend and results are really important at this time of year. Important for the team and really important for me. My aim is to stay with the Aspar team so this result is really important for that and it couldn't have come at a better time."

Having fought for world championships to the wire on two occasions, Laverty is well used to coping with pressure. When it's present while results are not however, is a new situation for the Northern Irishman.

"I wanted to get the best out of myself. The pressure is so much. I've always been good with pressure in the past but that's when things have been going good. We're used to winning races, being on the podium. Extra pressure then is no problem because you know you can achieve that. Suddenly if you're not getting the results there's extra pressure from everyone around me. If they say, 'Good luck but we really need this result' it's extra pressure.

"All the work of the weekend goes out the window and it all boils down to 40 minutes. This time I made a start, made some overtakes and even though I didn't quite have the pace in the early laps I rode my own race and didn't worry about the others. Maybe earlier in the year I would have made mistakes trying to go with them but I stayed in my own rhythm."

Undecided on rear tyre choice at the close of qualifying, Laverty eventually opted for the soft rear, which helped him early on. From there, he knew that staying at the front of the multi-rider dice was imperative.

"We went with the soft one. It's always a tough call. I would have liked to have gone with the hard one. It's a difficult call to make though when Bridgestone are advising the soft tyre because the performance is going to be better, the lap time too. We were in a group and if you lose positions you can lose touch with the group. We used the soft tyre for when it counted at the beginning.

"I saw the guys were giving me good signals. They were showing me six riders including me. Because I knew it was a big group as soon as anyone passed me I passed them straight back. It's so important to stay at the front of the group. You can't afford to go backwards. I needed to stay in the front two or three positions in the group. It was all fairly clean. I did touch Nicky once when he passed me. I went back by at the next corner. It was a hard move at turn seven. It was a hard battle but we both wanted to secure that place."