Having begun his day simply looking to qualify for Superpole, Eugene Laverty says a 'big step forward' on his Aprilia enabled him to improve all the way to the front row in qualifying at the Moscow Raceway.

The Irishman seemed an unlikely contender for the front row after Friday's action, with technical issues on the Aprilia RSV4 consigning him to a provisional 17th position, but changes to the bike's set-up would transform his fortunes.

Easing into the third Superpole phase, Laverty would emerge as just one of just three riders to crack 1min 35secs on the way to third place on the grid, the Irishman missing out on second by just 0.013secs.

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Delighted with the strong qualifying result, Laverty is now determined to turn that performance into podiums come race day.

"Without a doubt Saturday was better than Friday for us," he said. "After Friday's seventeenth place I knew I'd be able to get into Superpole, but I wasn't thinking about the front row. We worked hard and lap after lap the results proved out our work.

"We struggled in free practice and the qualifiers today but we managed to find the right direction and we'll continue working on that path for the races tomorrow as well. Our spot on the starting grid puts us in a position to be able to fight for the podium and that's a big step forward."