MONTEREY, Calif. – Marco Melandri led the way during the first two rounds of World Superbike qualifying Friday afternoon at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Melandri eventually took top spot after displacing fellow Italian Niccolò Canepa (Team Ducati Alstare) in the closing stages thanks to a new best lap of 1:23.775. Championship leader Tom Sykes edged his closest rival in the championship chase Sylvain Guintoli to claim third, while Chaz Davies strung together a handful of fast laps to elevate himself to fifth ahead of impressive wildcard Danny Eslick (Michael Jordan Motorsports Suzuki).
Davide Giugliano salvaged seventh position after a mid-session crash, getting the better of works Aprilia rider Eugene Laverty, Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam and Ayrton Badovini, who also crashed at turns six.
Notable non-improvers were Toni Elias and Roger Hayden, both suffering technical failures but still making Tissot-Superpole in twelfth and fourteenth place respectively.