Laguna Seca SBK Friday Practice Results 2015The 2015 World Superbike Championship makes its only stop in the USA this weekend for round nine of 13 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Friday’s opening 45-minute free practice sessions at the 2.2-mile circuit containing the infamous Corkscrew were held under typical California sunny conditions, and by day’s end the top-nine riders were within a second of each other.Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team’s Chaz Davies only earned third quickest during the opening free practice behind leader Jonathan Rea. But during the second free practice, Davies and the Ducati Team found something extra in the 1199 Panigale R, and shaved nearly a second off his lap time.
With a 1:23.633, Davies was the quickest rider in FP2, though he nearly crashed at turn one with five minutes remaining. Regardless, the Welshman earned the provisional pole at Laguna Seca SBK Friday practice by 0.156 ahead of Kawasaki Racing Team’s Tom Sykes – the only rider on the grid to win at Mazda Raceway.Claiming the final provisional front-row position was Davies’ teammate Davide Giugliano. The Italian, who finished 0.225 behind Davies, suffered a crash at turn 3 during FP2, but walked away unharmed.“All in all I’m pleased with the work we’ve completed today. The grip level was a little better this afternoon and we have been able to improve the bike. Here you need to take a step by step kind of approach and that’s what we’re aiming for,” Davies says. We’re concentrating on race distance because the races are long, but we don’t want to make any drastic set-up changes that might confuse us. We’re on the right track, and I think that we can find what we need by only making a few small modifications…”The current points leader who has won 11 of 16 races so far finished fourth overall during Laguna Seca SBK Friday practice, Rea, finished 0.388 behind Davies. Rea was over a tenth of a second faster than Althea Racing Ducati’s Niccolo Canepa (fifth) and Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils RSVR RF pilot Leon Haslam (sixth).Haslam’s teammate Jordi Torres finished seventh in Laguna Seca SBK Friday practice, followed by the Voltcome Suzuki GSX-R1000 duo of Randy de Puniet and Alex Lowes in eighth and ninth, respectively. The reigning World SBK Champion, Pata Honda’s Sylvain Guintoli was tenth quickest.Barni Racing Ducati’s Leandro Mercado suffered a nasty highside at Turn 3 during the opening minutes of FP2. The Argentinian 1199 Panigale R pilot was taken to the onsite medical center and cleared to ride.The 21-rider grid returns to Laguna Seca Saturday for two additional practice sessions ahead of Superpole. The on-track action begins at 9:45 a.m. PT.Photos by Ara Ashjian