Eugene Laverty says he is excited for the 2012 World Superbike Championship season following an impressive first outing on the Aprilia RSV-4 he will ride next season.

The Irishman jumped aboard the PATA Racing-prepared machine for the annual post-season test at Portimao just days after penning a deal to ride a factory-supported Aprilia in 2012, and stormed to the top of the timesheets.

Coming after spending a day fine-tuning the bike to accommodate his riding style, Laverty admitted the bike, which is noted for being so compact, felt small and rigid, but added that he quickly adapted to it nonetheless.

"That felt pretty good and I did a 1'42.8, and a few other fast laps too," he said. "When I first rode it, it felt small and I noticed how much I could move around the bike. We had to make some changes, from the base setting that Aprilia has. We had some chatter and some harshness and we really worked through a lot really and by the end we had all but fixed all the problems we had.

"After everything I had heard about the Aprilia, I was a little bit scared of the rigidity, the lack of engine brake but it was no problems at the end of me. For me the engine brake was fine and I thought there would be less. I was looking forward to riding this bike and it has really impressed me."

Laverty ended his maiden season in World Superbikes fourth overall, with two wins coming at Monza aboard the Yamaha YZF-R1.