Eugene Laverty says he is feeling increasingly confident with his Aprilia package as he notched up his first podium with the manufacturer at Assen.

Having impressed with his pace during pre-season testing, injuries and set-up problems would hamper Laverty during the opening two rounds, woes that looked to be compounded in the Netherlands when he could only qualify 14th.

Nonetheless, strong starts ensured Laverty was never far from the lead fight in either race, the Irishman proving quick in both wet and the dry conditions.

Enjoying an error-free afternoon of racing, Laverty would eventually secure fifth place in the driving rain of race one before holding a determined charge by the BMWs in race two to claim a maiden podium finish.

A substantial boost for Laverty's confidence, he now heads to Monza - scene of his double victory with Yamaha twelve months ago - feeling more assured on the RSV-4.

"We worked really hard this weekend and after a difficult start I knew I could fight for the podium," he said. "The two races were difficult, especially the restart in race one in the driving rain and truly precarious grip conditions, but in the end we're leaving Assen with more certainty and my first podium for Aprilia.

"In race two I had fun. I battled from the first to the last lap for third place. Now we'll need to be good enough to continue on this path, earning important points for morale and the championship standings."