Eugene Laverty feels the Aprilia RSV4 is now much better suited to his riding style as he aims to pick up where Max Biaggi
left off in 2013.
The Northern Irishman's confidence is high following a strong end to the season capped by a positive test at Jerez prior to the winter ban.
Laverty suffered a number of spills at the beginning of the year as he adapted to the RSV4 after riding the Yamaha R1 the previous season.
However, he began to make great strides halfway through the year as he benefitted from improved front-end feel.
Laverty, who won his first race for Aprilia at Portimao in Portugal, told the official World Superbike website: “We have been trying some different sized forks, different diameters, but either way the damping is working strongly with either fork. That has been the big benefit.
“We have been using a lot different damping to the direction that Max had taking the bike, in compression and rebound.
“I think that has been the biggest benefit because before I crashed so much at the start of the year because there was no confidence with it,” he added.
“Max could ride it because he flows and rides very smoothly, but I wanted to attack it, and any time I did that the front couldn't take it. Now the bike is more suited to me.”
Laverty's Aprilia is being tweaked to maximise the potential of the new 17-inch wheels, but he feels Pirelli's latest tyres were the key to his impressive showing at the Jerez test.
“We set good lap times at Jerez and I think it shows how good Superbike is and how good a job Pirelli has done with the new tyres,” he said.
“Everyone asks about the 17-inch tyres and if they are better but it is not the difference in wheel sizes, it is the development Pirelli has done with the tyre.
“They have really improved the construction and now the tyre is a race tyre. It works so well.
“We tried some swingarms at Jerez and with the 17-inch tyres we are going to have to re-evaluate some things all over again.