Eugene Laverty says he can feel confident that he will be on the pace from the start of his first World Superbike season after posting some enncouraging results in testing at Portimao.

The Irishman steps up to the Superbike class in 2011 after two years in the Supersport class, Laverty already impressing onlookers with his seamless transition during post-season testing.

It was form he carried through to the first pre-season test, even if it took a 'big breakthrough' with the front of the bike between sessions one and two for him to leap from 15th to third position.

"It was a slow start on the first day but then we made a big breakthrough with the front setting and I jumped up to third which is at least where I should be," the 2009 and 2010 WSS runner-up said. "It shows we can be strong so I'm confident we can be on the pace wherever we go. When I walk into the garage I feel at home."

Despite wet weather hampering the team's efforts over the next two days, Laverty nonetheless appreciated getting some mileage in damp conditions.

"Despite the weather it has been really beneficial for me to get some more laps on the bike. I hadn't had any time on the R1 in the wet before this test so if race one at Phillip Island is wet now it'll be fine! I'm really happy with the bike, in the wet and the dry.

"We came here and picked up where we left off from last year's Phillip Island test really smoothly. I'm looking forward to getting back to Australia now for the two day test and then getting stuck into some racing!"