Eugene Laverty said he had the 'luck of the Irish' as he reflected on his sensational fourth place in the Argentina MotoGP.
Laverty, speaking at the press conference in Austin ahead of this weekend's third round of the world championship at the Circuit of the Americas, began the final lap in Argentina in eighth place but picked up four places to finish fourth.
The Northern Ireland rider gained two places when Ducati riders Andrea Dovizioso and Andrea Iannone crashed out and also capitalised on a final lap clash between Hector Barbera and Pol Espargaro to secure the best result of his career to date.
Laverty, who made his MotoGP debut last season, said: “It was a bit of a crazy race and when we started from 17th place on the grid I really didn't expect to end up fourth, not even at the beginning of the race.
“Let's say at the beginning of the last lap when I was in eighth position and I crossed the line, I didn't even know where I was until I rounded turn one and looked up and I had to keep scrolling up until I saw 'Lav' beside fourth, so that was a great moment.
“We're getting there and testing was really difficult with so many injuries and Qatar was the first time that I rode the correct GP14.2 and since then we've made some progress, but I still feel as though we're searching for that base setting and it's still pre-season testing for us,” he added.
“We're getting there bit and bit and we made some progress in Qatar and in Argentina with the front end of the bike and we need to just keep working at that.”
After an injury-plagued pre-season, Laverty was left wondering if his luck would ever change but it did so dramatically at the Termas de Rio Honda circuit and the former World Superbike Championship runner-up hopes he can continue his momentum in Austin this weekend.
“It was one of the roughest pre-seasons I've ever had because I finished the last test ending up in the hospital,” he said.
“Then I came back on day one [of 2016 pre-season testing] and first of all the throttle stuck flat-out and I thought, 'okay, I survived that' and then an hour later the brakes didn't work and I had to jump off, so it was really a crazy period and I wondered when my luck was going to change.
“Finally, last week I was in the right place at the right time so it looks like the luck of the Irish has worked out this time.
“We'll keep working but it's going to be difficult to replicate the result of fourth place, that's for sure because a lot of riders dropped out and that helped us,” he added.
“But I think we've got to aim to get into Q2 and that's the first hurdle because if you qualify in that top 10 or top 12, it means you can get away with the faster guys, so let's see what we can do.
“We're aiming to continue this good run and try and try and get into that top ten this weekend.”