Eugene Laverty believes he can nail down a front row start during final qualifying and Superpole today after an impressive opening day at Portimao.

The Northern Irishman took the second fastest time on his Aprilia RSV4 in qualifying one yesterday behind BMW's Marco Melandri and is confident he can mount a similar challenge today.

Laverty, who twice finished on the rostrum at the Nurburgring, has made significant progress with boosting rear tyre grip on the exit of turns and the 26-year-old is looking forward to tomorrow's penultimate round of the World Superbike Championship in Portugal.

"The free practice sessions on the dirty track were quite arbitrary as is clear from everyone's high lap times," he said.

"In the afternoon we made some leaps forward, especially improving the rear tyre grip quite a bit coming out of turns, which is what I struggled with at the N?rburgring.

"My second place time at the end of the day shows the progress we've made.

"I think we're definitely within a shout of the front row."


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