Eugene Laverty has described the first World Superbike race of the weekend at Laguna Seca as 'one of the most difficult' of his career after overcoming initial difficulties to snatch a last gasp podium result.

Eager to maintain the momentum of his double triumph last time out in Turkey, Laverty looked to be having a more troubled time around the Californian circuit as he struggled to haul himself into the podium battle during each of the three starts.

However, as his confidence grew on a bike that had to be repaired after a crash in Superpole just two hours earlier, Laverty would push on in the closing stages, getting past team-mate Sylvain Guintoli for fourth before planting a determined overtake on Marco Melandri into the iconic Corkscrew bend for third on the very final lap.

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A stronger result that than he arguably looked capable of during the early stages of the race, Laverty admits he had to ride on the limit to get himself into the mix.

"This was one of the most difficult races of my career. During the practice sessions we worked well, but the track conditions during the last of the three race starts were quite different than they were yesterday. I struggled to stay in the lead pack. Toward the end I gained a bit confidence and was able to get onto the podium with two passes... with my eyes closed!

"I want to thank my team because after the crash in Superpole they really worked hard to get my RSV4 up and running. Now I'm focused on the second race which looks like it will be just as heated as the first."

Though he has lost ground to Tom Sykes in the overall standings, Laverty is now just 13 points behind Guintoli for second.