Eugene Laverty believes Aprilia's RS-GP MotoGP racer has a great deal of potential after conducting his first test aboard the machine at Valencia.

The Northern Irishman will act as a test rider for the Noale factory's MotoGP programme alongside competing for the marque in the World Superbike championship in 2017.

Having sampled the RS-GP for two days, Laverty concluded the bike has some strong points, as well as pinpointing which areas engineers can be improved.

"I liked the bike today," said Laverty, who will enjoy a brief period at home before testing the RSV4 Superbike at Jerez, on Wednesday.

"Yesterday it took me some time to get familiar with the bike but today it was much more enjoyable. I had some problems but we started to understand why. I was immediately able to go to 1m 33s on the first exit.

"Then it stopped because there was some limiting factor. It's a pity that we don't have another day but at least we found the problem that stopped me being able to push. I couldn't push on entry and lost quite a lot there.

"I enjoyed it. If I had gone home yesterday I wouldn't have been happy. I could feel something wasn't correct. Now I can see a lot of potential with this bike. They've done a bloody good job.

"I didn't really get to ride the bike in anger because of the problem. It is Aprilia style. It reminds me of the Superbike of the past, in terms of the engine and how they work in that way.

"The bike's quite small. You can move about on the bike quite well and it feels good. That's the main thing. It remains of the engine character of the RSV-4."

Full-time MotoGP rider Aleix Espargaro pointed out the machine's acceleration qualities, and how they need to be improved on Tuesday. Laverty was of the same opinion, feeling a more linear power delivery would be of benefit.

"That's something we both spoke about. Our impression right away was that it was not quite linear. The torque isn't there at the bottom and then it arrives so that needs to be a bit more linear to feel slower let's say."

The test included a spill at the end of the session on Tuesday, as track temperatures were quickly falling.

Laverty said he had approached those laps with the mindset of a racer, rather than a test rider, entering the corner too fast, a mistake that was the consequence of learning the requirements of this new role.

"The crash yesterday reminded me of that. It was cold at the end of the day, three or four minutes toward the end, and I went out and tested those items. I took it easy through the right handers. That's my job.

"I went slowly through there, but not as slow as a test rider and went down. I learnt my lesson yesterday. It was at turn ten. Just the tyre felt like ice but I can't blame that. It was the rider went in too hard."


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