Ducati’s Davies on Provisional Pole at Laguna Seca World Superbike

Ducati's Davies on Provisional Pole at Laguna Seca World Superbike
Ducati Superbike Team's Chaz Davies

Laguna Seca World Superbike Friday Practice Results

At the US round of World Superbike, the first three of four free practices were held on Friday due to the series running in conjunction with the AMA SuperBike Championship.

The overal  top-10 riders from these sessions will automatically progress into Saturday’s Superpole 2 session. As for riders 11-20, they will battle it out in Superpole 1 Saturday, with the top two riders of the that session heading into Superpole 2 to battle for the top-qualifying positions.

And when FP3 wrapped up, Ducati Superbike Team’s Chaz Davies was quickest. The Welshman was fast throughout the first two free practice sessions, but quickly moved into the lead during the opening laps of the 45-minute FP3 session.

Davies posted a best lap of 1:23.293 aboard the 1199 Panigale at Laguna Seca, which was produced on a hotter track due to the late-afternoon temperatures. To put this time into perspective, the Best Lap for the World SBK series at Laguna Seca is a 1:22.683, which was set by Aprilia Racing Team’s Sylvain Guintoli last season.

Joining Davies on the provisional front row was Guintoli, who was 0.021 of a second behind and led the opening free practice, and the Frenchman’s teammate Marco Melandri, who was 0.104 of a second back.

“Today’s been a really good day, we’ve been strong in each session and have also worked our way up in each session too. We’ve made a few tweaks throughout the day and everything seems to be working well,” Davies says.

“I feel we’re having a good spell right now; after solid results at Misano and Portimao we’ve come to Laguna knowing that the Panigale should perform well here, and so far it’s all going well. We’ll see what we can do tomorrow in qualifying, as that’s not always my strong point but I’m feeling good and hope we can fight for a front row start.”

Due to their quickest times throughout the opening three free practices, the following seven riders will also progress to Superpole 1 – the reigning World SBK Champion who led Free Practice 2, Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team), Alex Lowes (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Eugene Laverty (Voltcom Crescent Suzuki), Jonathan Rea (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), Leon Haslam (Pata Honda World Superbike Team), Davide Giugliano (Ducati Superbike Team) and Toni Elias (Red Devils Roma Aprilia).

FP3 was red flagged for a few minutes when Elias crashed at the famed Corkscrew. The Spaniard then proceeded with the help of the trackside marshals to shake the sand and gravel from his Aprilia RSV4 before returning to the track for the final 22 minutes.

Just missing the top 10 was Kawasaki Racing Team’s Loris Baz, who finished a mere 0.004 of a second ahead of the top EVO rider, Althea Racing Ducati’s Niccolo Canepa.

Leon Camier, who is submitting for the injured Claudio Corti aboard the MV Agusta Reparto Corse, continues to adapt to F4RR; he finished Friday in 18th.

The Americans on the Team Hero EBR – Geoff May and Aaron Yates – finished outside the top 20, as did the two American wildcard riders – Larry Pegram (Foremost Insurance EBR) and Chris Ulrich (GEICO Honda).

The riders return to the Laguna Seca circuit Saturday for one additional free-practice session – which does not count towards Superpole times – ahead of Superpole.

Photos 1-4 by Ara Ashjian

2014 Laguna Seca Friday Practice Results (Overall):

1   Chaz Davies 1m23.293s GBR DUCATI Ducati Superbike Team
2   Sylvain Guintoli 1m23.314s FRA APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team
3   Marco Melandri 1m23.397s ITA APRILIA Aprilia Racing Team
4   Tom Sykes 123.462s GBR KAWASAKI Kawasaki Racing Team
5   Alex Lowes 1m23.573s GBR SUZUKI Voltcom Crescent Suzuki
6   Eugene Laverty 1m23.629s IRL SUZUKI Voltcom Crescent Suzuki
7   Jonathan Rea 1m23.638s GBR HONDA Pata Honda
8   Leon Haslam 1m23.922s GBR HONDA Pata Honda
9   Davide Guigliano 1m23.934s ITA DUCATI Ducati Superbike Team
10   Toni Elias 1m24.402s ESP APRILIA Red Devils Roma