Jonathan Rea took another step towards a second World Superbike Championship with his first ever victory at Laguna Seca in race one. The Ulsterman recovered from two mistakes at the Corkscrew to see off teammate Tom Sykes while home favourite Nicky Hayden claimed a popular podium finish in third.
After claiming a seventh pole from nine rounds, all eyes were on Sykes and despite being outdragged by Rea on the approach to turn two, the Yorkshireman forced his way back into the lead on the exit of the corner. Chaz Davies moved straight into second on the leading Aruba Ducati and was looking dangerous on the tail of the no.66.
The Welshman dived past Sykes to snatch the lead on lap four, his block pass allowing Rea to also power past the former leader, but any hopes Chaz had of repeating his 2015 double disappeared at turn six as the front end of the Panigale gave way at the high-speed left-hander, sending him sliding into retirement. As if that wasn’t bad enough for Ducati, Davide Giugliano crashed out of third at the bottom of the Corkscrew eight laps later.
The iconic corner also caught out Rea on lap seventeen and although the championship leader stayed aboard his ZX-10R, Sykes was able to sweep past and regain the lead. The Kawasaki battle was settled six laps from the finish though with Rea repeating Davies’ earlier move at turn three and this time, Sykes would have no answer.
Hayden took advantage of the Ducati disasters to take third despite a last-corner lunge from his Honda teammate Michael van der Mark. The Dutchman followed him home in fourth with Alex Lowes and Lorenzo Savadori close behind in fifth and sixth respectively. Jordi Torres took seventh for Althea BMW ahead of Xavi Fores and Alex de Angelis while Niccolo Canepa rounded out the top ten on the second PATA Yamaha.
WorldSBK 2016: US Round – Race One Result
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