Three rounds into the 2016 MotoGP season and Eugene Laverty is yet to drop below his best finish of last year.

The Irishman has taken the Aspar team's new Ducati machinery to twelfth, fourth and twelfth place finishes in Qatar, Argentina and Austin respectively.

That's enough to put Laverty ninth in the world championship standings, between factory Suzuki riders Maverick Vinales and Aleix Espargaro, heading into the first European round at Jerez.

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Speaking after Sunday's Circuit of the Americas race, Laverty declared: "I knew it would be tough. I pulled a lap out of my arse [in qualifying], which was good for one lap, but the bike was hard work around here.

"When you come to a track like this, still without a base setting, it's not ideal because this place is quite particular. So the aim was to stay on board and gather the points while other guys are making mistakes.

"The bike is staying constant for the race now, I was able to maintain a good rhythm, it's just for that first half of the race I don't have the pace to go with those guys. It's just a balance issue really."

Laverty is confident his familiarity with the Jerez circuit, venue for round four, will help him take the next step.

"Now we're going to a track I have a lot of experience on, a lot miles testing for Aprilia as well, so I'm hoping that Jerez will give me a bit more indication on the direction we need to go to get after guys like Barbera.

"Jerez wasn't a track I was strong on initially, but whenever you test at track you break every corner down and you find the fastest way around it.

"I just wish I could do that at every track in the world because some tracks you gel with right away, like Argentina last year. Other ones, like Austin, it'll probably take me a few years to get right.

"But Jerez, I think I've got enough experience to know the fastest way around that place."