Chaz Davies made a winning return from injury in Saturday’s opening race of the weekend at Laguna Seca. The Welshman suffered fractured vertebrae in the first race at Misano last time out after a last lap clash with Jonathan Rea but three weeks on, Davies defeated the reigning champion with Tom Sykes completing the podium.
Sykes had started the day in typical fashion, taking the 41st pole position of his career after edging out Rea in Superpole 2. The two were split by nine hundredths of a second over a single lap but the Kawasaki team-mates found Davies between them early in the race with Marco Melandri unable to keep pace in fourth.
Davies shadowed the no.66 in the opening laps until finally making his move on lap twelve, sitting Sykes up on the approach to the Corkscrew. The manoeuvre delayed the Yorkshireman so much that Rea was able to capitalise, snatching second as they descended from the Corkscrew, and Sykes would become an increasingly distant presence in third.
After setting the fastest lap five from home, Rea was threatening a late-race charge but Davies did just enough to keep the reigning champion at bay, clinching his fourth win of the season. Rea eased home in second to extend his championship lead over third-placed Sykes while Melandri toiled home in a lonely fourth, ensuring he will line up on pole for race two.
Xavi Fores will start second tomorrow after claiming fifth while Leon Camier took a solid sixth for MV Agusta. Jordi Torres was seventh ahead of the sole remaining Yamaha of Michael van der Mark, Alex Lowes having crashed, while Leandro Mercado and Lorenzo Savadori completed the top ten on their Aprilias.
WorldSBK 2017: Geico US Round – Race One Result
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