Factory Aprilia rider Eugene Laverty is relishing the opportunity to work alongside the technicians who will prepare his RSV-4 in 2012 at next week's World Superbike test at Portimao in Portugal.
Last month, Laverty stunned the paddock as he topped the post-season test at the Portuguese venue, unofficially lapping a tenth of a second faster than Castrol Honda's Jonathan Rea to go under the lap record with a time of 1m 42.8secs.
The 25-year-old Northern Irishman narrowly lost out on third place overall in his rookie campaign in the championship this year to new team-mate Max Biaggi.
Twice a runner-up in the World Supersport series, Laverty underlined his credentials as a rider whose career is on an upward trajectory with an impressive first season in WSBK that saw him seal his maiden victories with a stunning double at Monza in Italy.
In the wake of his sizzling Aprilia test in October, Laverty can't wait to link up with his Aprilia mechanics at Portimao and spend further time getting to grips with the RSV-4.
“In the Portimao test at the end of November I'm going to work with the mechanics that I planned to work with for next year,” he said. “The first test was just with some of the Aprilia guys. I look forward to getting a little bit of work done and having a better understanding of the bike; we were already fast in Portimao so I'm looking forward to it.
“[At last month's Portimao test] I didn't spend too much time on the bike, from 9am to 3pm on the Tuesday after the race.
“I was able to go very fast, very quickly, a little bit like I did last year on the Yamaha. I went fast on the Yamaha the first time I rode it as well, but this time I was under the lap record.”
Overall, Laverty was more than satisfied with his debut campaign in World Superbikes, with consistency the key to his solid performances on the works Yamaha YZF-R1.
“The important thing for me was to be consistent, I didn't want to come in as a rookie, win one race and finish second and then finish seventh,” Laverty told WorldSBK.com
. “I wanted to learn. I was not in a rush as I knew it was going to be a learning year. In the end I did a good job and I think next year I can step it up.”