Eugene Laverty cut a frustrated figure as he left Phillip Island on Sunday night after a decision to increase his rear tyre pressure backfired, leaving the Northern Irishman with less grip than usual and pace that couldn't challenge the point scorers.

The Aspar Honda man had identified Phillip Island - the location of his last World Superbike win in 2014 - earlier in the year as a circuit that would give him his best chance of a strong result in his debut season.

However the basic 'Open' electronics package that failed team-mate Nicky Hayden during the race were incapable of limiting spin on corner exit, a trait Laverty's team tried to rectify by heightening tyre pressure.

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It was a decision that ultimately cost the Northern Irishman the chance of a strong finish and instead had to make do with 19th after narrowly finishing ahead of Mike Di Meglio and Stefan Bradl.

"It was a disaster," said Laverty. "For three laps we were ok. I really thought then that I could do something. I was getting held up by the guys around me. Then I made a mistake in turn two going wide around Hector Barbera. He was already wide so I got hung out to dry. I lost some places and had to make some back up again. At that point the bike was working really well.

"I was even looking ahead at Scott Redding and those guys, thinking I could go after them. After three laps the grip disappeared and it stayed that way for the whole race. We started with a higher rear pressure than the other guys. It was a real error on our part. There was no need for that because in the first three laps the bike was fantastic. In sector one and sector three I matched my qualifying lap.

"There was no thinking behind it unfortunately. The pressure was just that little bit too high and once it went up I was riding on ice. The tyre was like new and round here there's so much spinning and we made a big mistake by running more.

"When I caught those guys at the end - there was a group of four of them - I thought, 'I've got a few laps to go and can just overtake them quickly'. I wish I hadn't caught them because I realised they still had grip. I was just using the front tyre. Once the fuel load went down I started gaining on corner entry but on corner exit I was just drifting.

"The bike was working good yesterday. It is the normal places that you expect to struggle [with lack of grip]; turn two, Siberia, out of Lukey Heights, the final sector. I would have liked to have had a thorn and let the valve down, if I could have reached it. That's all it needed. Disappointing but a mistake before we went to the grid."