Jonathan Rea extended his World Superbike Championship lead to 59 points heading into the summer break after victory in race two at Laguna Seca. The Ulsterman sliced through from eighth on the grid in the early stages to overtake Tom Sykes before easing away to take his ninth victory of the season, leading a Kawasaki 1-2.
With Laguna Seca notoriously difficult to overtake on, the second race of the weekend was supposed to provide the acid test of the new-for-2017 reverse grid rules but the Kawasaki team-mates made a mockery of their third-row grid slots early on. Sykes showed impressive bravery to climb from seventh to second at turns one and two, overtaking several riders around the outside of the left-handers, before diving straight past pole-sitter Marco Melandri for the lead at turn four.
Keen to keep his team-mate in sight, Rea was in hot pursuit and was already up to second by the end of the first lap, charging up the inside of Melandri into the final corner. Sykes hadn’t been able to build up any early advantage while Rea picked his way through the traffic and sure enough, the world champion eased through into the lead on lap three, never to be seen again.
Rea’s race pace was so superior that he relentlessly opened up his advantage, eventually winning by just under three seconds, while Sykes held off a fast-closing Chaz Davies to finish second. Davies hadn’t managed to make the same rapid progress as the Kawasakis early on, getting bottled up behind Xavi Fores, and that would ultimately keep the Welshman back in third.
A mistake at turn six left Melandri to settle for fourth ahead of Fores with Eugene Laverty leading a trio of Aprilias, edging out Leandro Mercado and Lorenzo Savadori for sixth. The two PATA Yamahas of Alex Lowes and Michael van der Mark completed the top ten with the Briton atoning for his crash in race one.
WorldSBK 2017: Geico US Round – Race Two Result
[table id=2217 /]