Chaz Davies has climbed to third in the World Superbike Championship standings after a comfortable victory in race one at Laguna Seca. The Welshman led from start to finish as the Kawasaki teammates squabbled amongst themselves for second, Tom Sykes hanging on to defeat championship leader Jonathan Rea.
The decisive moment as far as victory was concerned came on lap one with Davies converting pole position into the lead at turn one while the Kawasakis of Rea and Sykes leapfrogged Davide Giugliano and Jordi Torres who both started sluggishly. Rea initially held second but we would never find out if he had the pace to keep Davies in sight after a mistake at turn four allowed Sykes through, a position Rea would have trouble regaining.
The Ulsterman had several attempts as he swarmed all over the back of his teammate, first charging up the inside into the final corner on lap nineteen only to run wide allow Sykes back through, before a second move at turn two shortly afterwards brought a similar lack of reward.
Davies was comfortably clear of this scrap though and cruised to his second win of the year and with Leon Haslam crashing out of sixth with five laps to go, the 25 points were enough to leapfrog him ahead of the Aprilia rider in the championship standings. Sykes positioned his bike beautifully to take second ahead of Rea, potentially delaying his future title coronation in the process, while Davide Giugliano recovered from his poor start to take fourth ahead of Jordi Torres.
Alex Lowes rode well to finish sixth for Suzuki ahead of Sylvain Guintoli, whose hopes of retaining his World Superbike crown are already mathematically over. Michael van der Mark followed his PATA Honda teammate home in eighth with Leandro Mercado and Leon Camier rounding out the top ten.