Marco Melandri has emerged as the World Superbike title contender to beat as he came out on top of a closely fought Q2 session at Laguna Seca.

Getting reacquainted with the American circuit he has raced at numerous times in MotoGP, Melandri was never anything less than a front runner as WSBK action got underway with FP1, Q1 and Q2 all taking place on the same day.

Snatching the fastest time in Q2 with his last lap of the day, Melandri was pleased to be quick out of the blocks as he looks to use this event to close the current 33 point gap to Tom Sykes in the overall standings.

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"It was a great day, I had a lot of fun. This weekend's schedule is quite different from the usual one. This is why we had defined a detailed working plan which we followed perfectly today. We mainly tried to improve my feeling with the front and to be faster with fresh tyres and the result was excellent.

"We made a big step forward and we will have a good potential for Superpole and races. I feel good, my RR works very well and I'm very positive."

BMW team-mate Chaz Davies, meanwhile, is also showing well around a circuit he knows well from his days in the domestic AMA series. Setting the fifth best lap time of the day, he feels there is still more to come.

"The day started very well obviously with P1 this morning but I expected the other guys would catch up pretty quickly. We did not have a good session this afternoon in the first qualifying practice. We went the wrong way with the set-up, seeing that the bike was very sensitive to changes.

"Then in the second qualifying practice, the bike was pretty good. We had definitely improved it; I was quite consistent and felt comfortable in the end. We still need to find a couple of tenths. The schedule was pretty tight, there was not much time between the sessions so there was no way to do adaptions to the gearbox and things like that.

"In addition, we lost around 20 minutes in the last session of the day. That was a shame as I had stuff to try but despite that we are heading in the right direction with the bike. So we will try to further improve and then to be ready for race one, which is pretty unusual to have it on a Saturday."