Chris Martin (@ChrisMartinSBK)
Works Ducati ace Chaz Davies claimed fastest lap honors on Friday's combined free practice order with a time of 1:23.622 as the USA Round of the Superbike World Championship got underway at Laguna Seca.
Davies' early speed aboard the Aruba.it backed Panigale came as little surprise as the Welsh ace not only came into the weekend with an extensive history of racing in America, but as the reigning double race winner at the undulating Northern California circuit.
However, Davies figures to have significant competition this weekend. Title leader Jonathan Rea was only .074 seconds back on the factory Kawasaki, while American Nicky Hayden finished the day in third as he makes his much-anticipated return to the circuit where he scored two of his three career MotoGP race victories.
The perpetually tight series saw 13 riders stacked within nine tenths of one another on the timesheets while six different makes were represented in the top eight (and seven in the top 13).
Rea's teammate, Tom Sykes and morning leader Alex Lowes rounded out the day's top five.
Final grid positions will be determined during Saturday's Superpole session, which is slated to get underway at 2:30pm Eastern time. Race 1 will take place a few hours later at 5:30pm Eastern. Both will air live on beIN SPORTS.