After his scorching ride at Phillip Island Eugene Laverty believes he and his Voltcom Suzuki team can challenge for the podium on Sunday at the second World Superbike round at Aragon.

Laverty ended Friday's two free practice sessions eighth overall, 0.79secs off Jonathan Rea's fastest time, after he and team-mate Alex Lowes initially struggled around the 3.1 mile circuit.

The Suzuki pair were on the fringes of the top ten during most of FP2 but Laverty's late lap put him within 0.7secs of the front runners and he feels his team have found a clear direction to work towards for Saturday's Superpole session.

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Speaking exclusively to he said, "In [the] Jerez [test] the bike didn't feel like I was doing much wrong, it was just the lap time was slow. Here I'm not too far away. There are a few problems with the front but we made a step in the last exit and we're going to keep heading in that direction," he said.

"We'll have to chase the boys down though. Sykes and Johnny [Rea] are going fast and looking good."

Laverty's first win for Suzuki was quickly followed by a DNF in race two and the Northern Irishman doesn't intend to lose more ground in the championship fight by contesting the podium places in Sunday's race. In his eyes tyre management will be key.

"I want to be on the podium. That's what I'm aiming for. I know it's going to be hard. I'm going to have to try and look after that tyre like I did at Phillip Island which is one of my strengths. They've shortened the race here by three laps and that doesn't help. The smarter riders usually benefit from the longer race but you can use it more when it's shorter."

Aragon proved to be the Suzuki man's worst round of 2013 when mechanical issues and a first lap crash saw him leave Spain with a pair of DNFs.

Asked if he foresaw Aragon as one of Suzuki's difficult tracks Laverty said, "Yeah. I predicted this one and Sepang But between those we have good ones at Assen, Imola and Donington. You have to be realistic and not put negative thoughts in your head when you have a day like today when you're eighth and realise that it's not bad. If you come here thinking, 'this could be a good track' and you're in eighth you're angry."

With his win and DNF from the first Australian round Laverty sits fifth overall in the standings.

by Neil Morrison