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Melandri, Canepa, and Sykes Lead Friday World Superbike Qualifying; Eslick 6th

World Superbike Friday Qualifying Results

Thanks to a new Best Lap of 1:23.775, Marco Melandri (BMW Motorrad GoldBet, #33) took top spot, displacing fellow Italian Niccolò Canepa (Team Ducati Alstare, #59) in the closing stages. Championship leader Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team, #66) edged his closest rival in the Championship chase, Sylvain Guintoli (Aprilia Racing Team, #50), to claim third. Chaz Davies (BMW Motorrad GoldBet, #19) strung together a handful of fast laps to elevate himself to fifth ahead of impressive wildcard Danny Eslick (Michael Jordan Motorsports Suzuki, #45).

The second qualifying session lived up to expectations as the WSBK riders fought to finish inside the top 15, which guarantees a spot for tomorrow morning’s Tissot-Superpole.

Despite the temperature dropping considerably throughout the one-hour session, lap times significantly improved as the leading two riders were even able to break into the 1:23s barrier.

Davide Giugliano (Althea Racing Aprilia, #34) salvaged seventh position after a mid-session crash, getting the better of works Aprilia rider Eugene Laverty (#58), Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam (#91) and Ayrton Badovini (Team Ducati Alstare, #86), who also crashed at Turn 6. Notable non-improvers were Toni Elias (Red Devils Aprilia, #24) and Roger Hayden (Michael Jordan Motorsports Suzuki, #5), both suffering technical failures. However, Elias and Hayden made the Tissot-Superpole.

Michel Fabrizio (#84), filling in for the injured Jonathan Rea on the Pata Honda, took the final Superpole spot, edging out David Salom (#44), who is a replacement rider for the recovering Loris Baz of the Kawasaki Racing Team.

World Superbike Friday Qualifying Results – Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

1. Melandri (BMW) – 1:23.775 (average 155.130 km/h)
2. Canepa (Ducati) – 1:23.938
3. Sykes (Kawasaki) – 1:24.153
4. Guintoli (Aprilia) – 1:24.303
5. Davies (BMW) – 1:24.334
6. Eslick (Suzuki) – 1:24.345
7. Giugliano (Aprilia) – 1:24.373
8. Laverty (Aprilia) – 1:24.394
9. Haslam (Honda) – 1:24.592
10. Badovini (Ducati) – 1:24.616
11. Cluzel (Suzuki) – 1:24.617
12. Elias (Aprilia) – 1:24.699
13. Aitchison (Kawasaki) – 1:24.839
14. Hayden (Suzuki) – 1:24.845
15. Fabrizio (Honda) – 1:25.010
16. Salom (Kawasaki) – 1:25.449
17. Young (Suzuki) – 1:25.661
18. Sandi (Kawasaki) – 1:25.668
19. Iannuzzo (BMW) – 1:25.975
20. Allerton (BMW) – 1:26.735

Photography by Ara Ashjian

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