MONTEREY, Calif. – Chaz Davies (Ducati Superbike Team) set the fastest lap in the eni FIM Superbike World Championship Free Practice combined times Friday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in 1’23.293s, edging second place Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team) by only 21 thousandths of a second.
The Welshman, who has raced on this track in three different championships (AMA, MotoGP and WSBK) has shown great speed and consistency on the opening day of action.
Other factory Aprilia rider Marco Melandri was third, ahead of points leader and reigning champion Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) and an impressive Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), who was able to finish within 0.3s of the leader and to edge teammate Eugene Laverty in what was his first day on the Californian track.
Pata Honda duo Jonathan Rea and Leon Haslam, Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) and Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia) completed the top 10.
The Spaniard lost the front end of his RSV4 machine at the corkscrew in the early stages, with the crash leading to a red flag situation. The former Moto 2 World Champion then proceeded with the help of the trackside marshals to shake the sand and gravel from his Aprilia before returning to the track for the final 22 minutes after some speedy work from his team.
The riders placed 11th to 20th on combined times will take part in Superpole 1 on Saturday with the top 2 in that session progressing to join the already seeded top 10.
Eleventh overall after Friday and narrowly missing out on a top 10 placing was Loris Baz (Kawasaki Racing Team), only 0.004s ahead of the best classified EVO rider Niccolò Canepa (Althea Racing Team Ducati).
Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) adapted well to his new machine ending the day 18th overall.
It was also a good day for Team Hero EBR, who narrowly missed out on Superpole by 0.014 with Geoff May taking 22nd after an encouraging day for the all American outfit.
1.Chaz Davies (Ducati) 1:23.293 (156.028km/h)
2. Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia) 1:23.314
3. Marco Melandri (Aprilia) 1:23.397
4. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki) 1:23.462
5. Alex Lowes (Suzuki) 1:23.573
6. Eugene Laverty (Suzuki) 1:23.629
7. Jonathan Rea (Honda) 1:23.638
8. Leon Haslam (Honda) 1:23.922
9. Davide Giugliano (Ducati) 1:23.934
10. Toni Elias(Aprilia) 1:24.402
11. Loris Baz (Kawasaki) 1:24.514
12. Niccolo Canepa (Ducati) 1:24.518
13. David Salom (Kawasaki) 1:24.799
14. Sylvain Barrier (BMW) 1:24.827
15. Christian Iddon(Bimota) 1:24.916
16. Ayrton Badovini (Bimota) 1:25.133
17. Alessandro Andreozzi (Kawasaki) 1:25.497
18. Leon Camier (MV Agusta) 1:25.599
19. Bryan Staring (Kawasaki) 1:25.970
20. Sheridan Morais (Kawasaki) 1:26.073
21. Jeremy Guarnoni (Kawasaki) 1:26.080
22. Geoff May (EBR) 1:26.087
23. Larry Pegram (EBR) 1:26.302
24. Gabor Rizmayer (BMW) 1:26.506
25. Aaron Yates (EBR) 1:26.999
26. Chris Ulrich (Honda) 1:27.169
27. Peter Sebestyen (BMW) 1:27.226
–From the World SBK Press Office