Eugene Laverty's burgeoning Aprilia career is off to an excellent start as he topped post-season testing at Portimao after just one day aboard the RSV-4.
Having only just signed an agreement with the Italian manufacturer, Laverty, riding a PATA Racing RSV-4 lapped the Portuguese circuit in an unofficial best of 1min 42.8secs – only seven tenths off his qualifying time on the Yamaha during the race weekend in less optimum conditions.
A stunning debut outing for Laverty, he was a tenth quicker than Jonathan Rea, who tested the 2011 and 2012 Castrol Honda in the absence of the MotoGP-committed Hiroshi Aoyama, who is set to join the team at a test in Qatar later in the year.
Joan Lascorz was third fastest for Kawasaki, ahead of Leon Haslam, who made a good first impression aboard the 2012-specification BMW S1000RR. He was one of four BMW riders on track, with Italia rider Ayrton Badovini going seventh, while Marco Melandri made his much anticipated debut aboard the German machine, the 2011 runner-up going eighth best, less than a second of former team-mate Laverty's pace.
Fresh from his strong end to the season with Supersonic Racing, Maxime Berger was fifth best on the Effenbert-Liberty Ducati, ahead of sixth place Tom Sykes on the second Kawasaki.
Rounding out the ten riders on track was Canadian Brett McCormick on another Effenbert-Liberty Ducati and new BMW Italia rider Michel Fabrizio.