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Tom Sykes has moved to the top of the timesheets during the third free practice session for the ninth round of the 2015 World Superbike Championship at Laguna Seca, ahead of Ducati's Chaz Davies and Davide Giugliano.

Setting his best time in the first half of the session, the Kawasaki rider's effort of 1min 23.105secs was enough to see off a late response from overnight pace setter Davies, who slotted into second position less than a tenth adrift of his countryman.

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Giugliano complemented his Aruba.it Ducati counterpart in third position despite a late technical issue, two tenths off the top spot, while Aprilia enjoyed a more competitive session ahead of qualifying later today, with Jordi Torres and Leon Haslam progressing to fourth and fifth fastest respectively on the Red Devils Roma RSV4s.

Runaway championship leader Jonathan Rea was sixth best, more than half a second adrift of his pace setting team-mate, while Niccolo Canepa built on an impressive start to the weekend by comfortably progressing through to SP2 on the Althea Ducati, where he will be joined by Suzuki's Alex Lowes, PATA Honda's Sylvain Guintoli and Pedercini Kawasaki's David Salom sealing a spot on the front three rows.

In what was a typically close battle to creep into the top ten, Ayrton Badovini and Randy de Puniet missed out on automatic SP2 inclusion by just tenth, though the pair held a four tenth advantage over the remaining competition - headed up by Matteo Baiocco - as they look to secure the two spots available for SP2 via SP1.

Elsewhere, Leon Camier was 14th best on the MV Agusta, while Laguna Seca newcomer Michael van der Mark has work to do from a lowly 15th as he continues to learn his way around the Californian venue.

Further back, just two riders have had their grid positions determined by FP3, with Grillini Kawasaki's Gianluca Vizziello and Toth BMW's Imre Toth confirmed in 21st and 22nd.