Aragon MotoGP Open class winner Eugene Laverty spent much of Friday familiarising himself with the Twin Ring Motegi circuit after an eight-year absence.

Premier class rookie Laverty last raced at Motegi in the 250cc Grand Prix class and admitted FP1 was something of a struggle as he finished 25th on the Aspar Honda before some positive set-up changes made a big difference in the afternoon.

"I haven't ridden here since 2007 and today I didn't recognise anything, it was like a completely new circuit," said the Irish rider, who finished FP2 in 19th place after a lap in 1m 46.770s.

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"First practice was difficult but we made huge progress in the second session, more or less two seconds faster, and we also made some progress with the bike because this track is very different to the others with all the hard braking and hard acceleration.

"The guys made some changes to the geometry in the afternoon and the bike was much better. I am pleased because this morning I was worried - the first session was a disaster - but the afternoon is more or less where we should be on day one and the target was to do a 1'46," Laverty added.

"I still have a few corners I need to learn; there are some complicated sections where I can improve, so we'll keep working."

Meanwhile, his team-mate Nicky Hayden - who announced during the week that he will move to World Superbikes in 2016 with Ten Kate Honda - ended the day a place below Laverty on the time sheets.

"We made a decent start this morning, the bike was not too far out from the first exit and we have improved a couple of things without making a huge step forward," said the American star.

"This afternoon we were having some problems with the brakes but we sorted that out and the last run I was able to do some decent laps. I would say the biggest thing for us here is acceleration.

"The gearbox is pretty close and the bike is lifting a lot under acceleration and we need to improve the braking, but overall the bike is not too bad so the rider needs to improve a bit tomorrow," Hayden added.

"We know the level is really high in this championship and the group I am in is really tight; there's not so much in it, especially with a few wildcards here to make it interesting. The feeling is not so bad so let's try to make a good step tomorrow."