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WORLD SUPERBIKES

Davies sets the pace in USA on the opening day

Chaz Davies held sway at the top of the World Superbike Championship timesheets following second practice at Laguna Seca, with Jonathan Rea making gains over his rivals during a scorching afternoon session.

The Welshman's 1m 23.425secs effort from FP1, his first session since returning from injuries sustained at Misano, would prove good enough to hold off all-comers in FP2, though the Ducati rider was helped by two red flag periods interrupting proceedings at crucial moments.

Championship leader Rea did get close with a 1min 23.436secs lap on the Kawasaki during a one-lap sprint to the flag at the end of FP2, the session having been restarted with 3mins remaining on the clock after a fall for newcomer Jake Gagne.

That particular incident was enough to unsettle Marco Melandri, who was on course for the top time when the stoppage halted his progress.

Eugene Laverty was another to take a fall but had his FP1 to thank for him staying up in contention in fourth, ahead of Tom Sykes, Xavi Fores – who made big gains over his morning effort - and Leon Camier. Alex Lowes and Jordi Torres fell during the session but made it into Q2 in eighth and ninth, along with Pedercini's Alex de Angelis.

That signalled disappointment for Michael van der Mark, who could only manage the 13th best lap and Stefan Bradl, who crashed early on in the session, both riders slipping down the order in 13th and 14th to ensure they will need to progress via Q1 if they want to make it into Q2 Superpole.

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