Eugene Laverty said his rear Bridgestone tyre was 'almost like a slick' towards the end of the Japanese MotoGP at Motegi, where the Irish rider finished the race in 17th position.

Laverty, who seems increasingly likely to remain in the Aspar team in 2016 to join Yonny Hernandez on Ducati 14.2 machinery, had finished as the top Open rider for the first time in his rookie season at Aragon in the previous round.

However, the 29-year-old was unable to muster a similar challenge at the Twin Ring Circuit on Sunday, were Laverty was racing for the first time in eight years following his stint in the 250cc Grand Prix World Championship.

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Laverty felt strong at the start of the race on the RC213V-RS but gradual rear tyre degradation saw him lose touch and he slipped backwards.

"It was a difficult race. At the start we were really strong in comparison to the wet race at Silverstone, where I didn't have a good feeling in the early laps," Laverty said.

"I could stay with the guys but then when the spinning began and the tyre started to move around we got slower and slower and by the end the tyre was almost like a slick.

"We are still improving and we know the direction but we need to improve much, much more in the wet if we want to finish in the points. Maybe that's the last wet race of the year, we don't know," he added.

"The positive thing from the weekend is the lap we set in the dry yesterday. I am in one piece and we move on to Phillip island now."