Eugene Laverty says Milwaukee Aprilia has continued to make solid progress with its tyre wear woes at Portimao after claiming his best result of the year with fourth place in race two.

Milwaukee Aprilia duo Laverty and Lorenzo Savadori demonstrated the RSV4 RF’s outright one lap pace by both qualifying on the front row at the Portuguese circuit but ended up going backwards in race one as rear tyre wear hampered their progress.

Having made adjustments overnight, Laverty nursed his rear tyre to ensure its performance across a race distance and produced a much stronger race pace and coupled with Tom Sykes’s injury absence plus Chaz Davies crashing out the ex-MotoGP rider carved his way to fourth place and only narrowly missing the podium behind Marco Melandri.

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As a result, Laverty is confident his Milwaukee Aprilia squad can be optimistic for the remainder of 2017 as he hunts an elusive first podium on his comeback year to the World Superbike championship.

“Superpole was great and the bike was good for the whole session, and one lap in particular. We were really strong then and we knew we could be this weekend,” Laverty said. “Race one was disappointing, and I knew from the start that it was going to be tough on the rear. The guys coming past me still had rear grip which made it difficult to defend, so that’s an area we had to improve on.

“Race two was definitely better for us. I was worried about the rear dropping off after a few laps like in Race one, but we put up a good fight and fourth was a good result.

“The steps we made overnight were huge and morning warm up was fantastic. We lost a bit of pace and grip in the hotter conditions but I was much happier and we have a reason for optimism.

“For Monday's test we'll be pursuing the same direction we've been following for the last few rounds. That has worked and is improving for us, and I think we will be in stronger position next time out at Magny-Cours."