Milwaukee Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty believes he has a genuine podium shot at this weekend’s Laguna Seca WorldSBK round after making solid progress in free practice to find a decent race setup on the RSV4.

Laverty was fast out of the blocks in free practice one but then stalled until some changes saw him again make another step in the crucial third session.

“We made a really good start to the weekend, we were straight into the 1’23 laps in the morning which was really encouraging for all of us,” said Laverty.

“I couldn’t really progress in FP2, but we made a good step in FP3 and put the bike in a good position. We’re running strongly in the top five, everybody is on pretty similar lap times so I think it’s going to be a close race. The key for us is to maintain a strong pace on Saturday and not go backwards.

“For me the podium is always the goal, it’s realistic this weekend and I think there is a genuine chance for us to be fighting for second and third.”

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