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WORLD SUPERBIKES

Davies scores victory in race one at Laguna Seca

Race One

Chaz Davies has capped an impressive return from a nasty injury suffered at Misano to take victory in the Laguna Seca opener for Aruba.it Racing Ducati.
Running a special edition Ducati livery to mark the launch of the 1299 Panigale R, it was feared Davies might miss the Laguna Seca race weekend altogether after his scary crash at Misano when he was accidentally hit by Jonathan Rea after falling in a last-lap battle three weeks ago.
But having sufficiently recovered from a vertebrae fracture and left thumb contusion, Davies powered his way past the two factory Kawasaki riders for a first win since his Imola double in May.

After being handed second place when Rea ran wide at two on lap two, he reeled in pole-sitter Tom Sykes before measuring up a pass for the lead. On lap 11 Davies cut inside Sykes at the top of the corkscrew, a move which pushed Sykes wide and let Rea through for second before holding station at the front.
Despite a spirited chase by Rea, Davies eventually broke the toe to pull out a one second gap on the final two laps for an emotional victory. At the late Nicky Hayden's home round Davies also led the tributes to the Kentucky Kid with a special #69 flag on the cool down lap.

With Rea settling for second, Sykes ended the race a distant third over five seconds back while Marco Melandri claimed a lonely fourth over 17 seconds behind his Aruba.it Racing Ducati team-mate. Barni Ducati's Xavi Fores claimed the best of the rest for fifth place ahead of MV Agusta's Leon Camier, as Althea BMW's Jordi Torres held off a race-long charge from Michael van der Mark on the Pata Yamaha.

Leandro Mercado on the customer IodaRacing Aprilia beat the factory-assisted Milwaukee Aprilia of Lorenzo Savadori, while Stefan Bradl led the Red Bull Honda charge in 11th. Roman Ramos narrowly held off Raffele De Rosa at the chequered flag for 13th place as Alex de Angelis and Jake Gagne, wildcarding for Red Bull Honda as Hayden's replacement, claimed a point on debut to round out the top 15. Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha) both crashed out in the opening third of the race in separate falls but were both able to walk away unhurt.

Race Two

Jonathan Rea will take a sizeable 59 point lead into the summer break as victory in the second World Superbike Championship race of the weekend at Laguna Seca saw him move ever closer to a third consecutive title. Having been forced to settle for second behind Chaz Davies in race one, Rea turned in a superlative performance on the Kawasaki ZX-10R by following team-mate Tom Sykes as they both hustled their way to the front of the field from their reverse grid positions by the end of the opening lap.

From here Rea wasted no time in dispatching of Sykes for the lead on the lap two and he wasn't troubled again thereafter, the eventual 2.8secs margin as he backed off across the line to his team-mate betraying an otherwise dominant performance by the Ulsterman. Indeed, race one winner Davies might have had the pace to go with Rea but his route through the pack from his grid position would prove more troublesome, the Welshman taking until lap seven to clear Xavi Fores for third positon. Though he would go in pursuit of Sykes and close the margin, the former champion had the measure of his countryman to seal Kawasaki's fifth 1-2 of the year and consolidate his second place in the standings.

Marco Melandri had a mistake early on for spoiling his chances of victory, the Italian fighting back to fourth place but finishing 17secs down on the lead.
After his bright start, Fores brought the privateer Barni Ducati home in fifth place, ahead of Eugene Laverty, who secured his third top six finish in four races in sixth position, ahead of fellow RSV4 riders Leandro Mercado and Lorenzo Savadori. Alex Lowes won out in a tense battle with Yamaha team-mate Michael van der Mark to secure ninth and tenth respectively, while Stefan Bradl ended his weekend with another disappointing finish in 11th for Honda.

Still, it was a double points' finish for the Red Bull backed team as Jake Gagne notched up a digit in 15th place, behind Roman Ramos, Alex de Angelis and Randy Krummenacher. Elsewhere there was disappointment for Althea BMW after Jordi Torres dropped his S1000RR whilst running sixth, his error coming just a lap on from a crash for his team-mate Raffaele de Rosa. Leon Camier was also a casualty, stopping with technical issues.

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