Eugene Laverty feels Milwaukee Aprilia can challenge for a first rostrum of the 2017 World Superbike season having made significant testing gains carried over from his encouraging Laguna Seca round.

Having produced an upturn in recent results, with three top six finishes in the past four races from Misano and Laguna Seca, Laverty had been aiming to build upon the set-up gains at the two-day in-season test at Lausitzring which hosts round nine next month.

While Laverty spent the opening day of the test becoming familiar with the German circuit, he's confident useful performance gains were found having experimented with set-up changes to gain a better front-end feel which he feels has helped improve the bike as a whole.

"The main thing for me on Tuesday was to learn the track ahead of the race weekend," Laverty said. "It's bumpy like everyone says, but it's fun to ride with such a mix of low and high speed sections and the bike seems to work well.

"We did a really good job in just a few hours, and made two big steps forward. We set a lap under the lap record pace which shows we're making big strides in chasing down the front guys.

"For this track we've been working on corner entry and allowing me to attack the front more. As we improve that area the rest improves with it, and we've found that yet again here. I feel positive because its the same direction we've been going in recently; Laguna Seca was a good step, and here we've continued that.

"I'm confident that we're heading in the right direction, and when we come back here next month we'll be aiming for the podium. It won't be easy but it's in our sights now."

Laverty has recorded Milwaukee Aprilia's joint-best result of the season so far when he scored fifth place in race two at Misano, while Aprilia's last World Superbike rostrum came in the wet race two at Lausitzring in 2016 when Alex de Angelis secured second place on the IodaRacing Aprilia.

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