Laverty is optimistic after joint best finish
A battling 12th place for Eugene Laverty in the season opener in Qatar - aboard the Aspar Ducati - was enough for the Monaco-based Ulsterman to equal his best MotoGP finish.
It looked like it was going to be a disastrous round one for Laverty, who ignited his Desmosedici Grand Prix machine sideways off the line and dropped from his grid position of 14th to almost dead last.
Laverty, however, battled his way back into contention for points, and when front-runners Andrea Iannone on the factory Ducati and Manx-based Brit Cal Crutchlow (LCR Honda) crashed out, it afforded Laverty a race-long battle with Aussie Jack Miller on the Marc VDS Honda for a top-12 position which he duly won.
Laverty said afterwards: "We made big progress here compared to pre-season, we achieved a positive result.
"I had a problem at the start with a bit of wheelspin off the line because I was on a dirty part of the track and then on lap one Loris Baz ran me wide off the track.
"So it was a disastrous start but after that we managed to come back well. I think we can be happy to start the season with a 12th place. The next race is Argentina, I rode there for the first time last season and already it has become one of my favourite tracks.
"It really suits my riding style so I am happy to be leaving here with some confidence in the bag, the team are working well and I think we can go to Argentina now to fight for the top 10."
For Laverty, the leading GP14.2 Ducati of Spaniard Hector Barbera will be one he will look for on the timesheets and with a 21-second gap to the ninth-placed finisher, an early season goal will be to reduce that deficit.