Times improve as temperatures rise in the Californian afternoon.
Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati Superbike Team) will head into Saturday’s decisive FP3 as the fastest WorldSBK rider on combined times after the opening two 45-minute sessions at Laguna Seca on Friday.
With the sun blazing, the factory Ducati rider improved, as did most of the field, to head the standings by 0.156s with a lap time of 1’23.633. The Welshman then ran off-track at high speed into Turn 1, thankfully keeping his Panigale R on two wheels before continuing for the final five minutes.
Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) finished second, stringing together an impressive run of consistent times, with Davide Giugliano elevating himself to third before falling off his Ducati machine at Turn 3 . The Italian, like his team-mate, was able to rejoin the track.
Fastest this morning, Jonathan Rea dropped to fourth place but remained close to the top time, with the leading nine riders covered by one second.
Niccolò Canepa (Althea Racing Ducati) was again solid in fifth, ahead of Leon Haslam who made a significant step forward with his Aprilia Racing Team – Red Devils RSV4 RF, likewise team-mate Jordi Torres, who was seventh and followed by Voltcom Crescent Suzuki duo Randy de Puniet and Alex Lowes.
Reigning World Champion Sylvain Guintoli (Pata Honda World Superbike Team) rounded out the top ten with his final lap of the session.
Leandro Mercado (Barni Racing Ducati) suffered a highside at Turn 3 in the opening minutes of FP2; the Argentinean rider was taken to the medical centre for precautionary checks and was diagnosed with a second toe proximal phalanx fracture in his left foot, a right hip contusion and sprained ankle.
The action resumes on Saturday at 9:45am local time (GMT -7) with Free Practice 3, which will determine which riders will take part in the afternoon’s two Tissot-Superpole sessions.
Combined times Free Practice 1 and 2
1 - Chaz Davies Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team 1'23.633
2 - Tom Sykes Kawasaki Racing Team +0.156
3 - Davide Giugliano Aruba.it Racing - Ducati Superbike Team +0.225