Factory Aprilia star Eugene Laverty escaped unscathed from a fourth gear high-side during testing at Jerez before setting the third fastest time on his RSV4.

Laverty, who finished sixth overall in the World Superbike Championship in 2012 and gained his first Aprilia victory at Portimao in Portugal, has taken over as the Italian team's number one rider following the retirement last year of reigning champion Max Biaggi.

The Northern Ireland rider left the Spanish circuit feeling satisfied with his progress as he builds towards round one of the championship at Phillip Island in Australia next month, where Laverty suffered a hand injury in a high-speed crash a year ago to mar his debut on the works Aprilia.

Improved weather on the second day of the test offered riders the chance to make the most of a dry track after persistent rain thwarted progress on Monday, when Davide Giugliano headed the times on his Althea Aprilia.

Laverty's best lap was 0.285s adrift of Marco Melandri on the Goldbet BMW, who set the leading time in 1m 40.758s.

"Despite the less than perfect conditions of the track we were able to do some good work," said the 26-year-old.

"The crash was due to a loss of grip when I tried pushing beyond the track grip limit, but it didn't compromise the test.

"Now I'm ready to fly to Australia where we'll finally be able to put these values to work for us on the track."

Laverty added on Twitter: "Nice little fourth gear highside yesterday landing on my left shoulder. All three Aprilias crashed within the space of half an hour!"

At the post-season test at Jerez prior to the winter ban, Laverty lapped the Spanish circuit in a time of 1m 40.185s - considerably quicker than anyone managed this time round - when conditions were much more favourable.

Laverty has set himself a target of at least mounting a sustained challenge for the world title in 2013.