WorldSBK, Laguna Seca: Chaz Davies sets the benchmark on opening day
Aruba.it Racing – Ducati rider Chaz Davies owned the timesheets on Day 1 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, as the Welshman returned to the track on which he did the double last year to lay down a marker as he gets ready to attack the second half of the season. Kawasaki Racing Team rider Jonathan Rea ended the day second quickest with two sessions as a frontrunner on Friday, ahead of local hero Nicky Hayden on the Honda Fireblade, who moved up from P12 to P3 in the last few impressive minutes of the session.
KRT rider Tom Sykes was bumped out the top three in the last dash after having had a more difficult morning session but ended the day in P4, ahead of FP1’s fastest man Alex Lowes, who rounded out the top 5 for Pata Yamaha. Davide Giugliano finished up P6 as the Italian returns to a track with some difficult memories after a crash last year sidelined him for many Rounds of the season, ahead of Althea BMW rider Jordi Torres in P7.
Lorenzo Savadori was impressive in P8 for IodaRacing Aprilia, ahead of Xavi Forés for Barni Racing on the Panigale R, who ended the day in P9. Niccolo Canepa continued stand in duties for Sylvain Guintoli with another good showing to round out the top 10 for Pata Yamaha.
Honda rider Michael van der Mark, after spending most of the morning session at the front, was the casualty of the last minute dash as the Dutchman ended Day 1 in P11 and just missed out on direct entry into Tissot-Superpole 2. Alex De Angelis was P12 on the second IodaRacing machine, ahead of MV Agusta’s Leon Camier, Milwaukee BMW’s Karel Abraham and second Althea BMW rider Raffaele de Rosa, who is riding at Laguna Seca for the first time as a replacement for injured Markus Reiterberger.
Entry to Tissot-Superpole 2 is now decided for the top ten, with the last two spots in the fight for the top 12 places on the grid up for grabs through the Superpole 1 session on Saturday. With a closely packed field, it’s sure to be an explosive battle in qualifying ahead of the two WorldSBK races of the weekend: the lights go out at 14:30 local time (GMT -7) on both Saturday and Sunday as the fight for 50 points begins once again.