Click here for full World Superbike race one results from Laguna Seca

Chaz Davies has capped an impressive return from a nasty injury suffered at Misano to take victory in the Laguna Seca opener for Racing Ducati.

Running a special edition Ducati livery to mark the launch of the 1299 Panigale R, it was feared Davies might miss the Laguna Seca race weekend altogether after his scary crash at Misano when he was accidentally hit by Jonathan Rea after falling in a last-lap battle three weeks ago.

But having sufficiently recovered from a vertebrae fracture and left thumb contusion, Davies powered his way past the two factory Kawasaki riders for a first win since his Imola double in May.

After being handed second place when Rea ran wide at two on lap two, he reeled in pole-sitter Tom Sykes before measuring up a pass for the lead. On lap 11 Davies cut inside Sykes at the top of the corkscrew, a move which pushed Sykes wide and let Rea through for second before holding station at the front.

Despite a spirited chase by Rea, Davies eventually broke the toe to pull out a one second gap on the final two laps for an emotional victory. At the late Nicky Hayden's home round Davies also led the tributes to the Kentucky Kid with a special #69 flag on the cool down lap.

With Rea settling for second, Sykes ended the race a distant third over five seconds back while Marco Melandri claimed a lonely fourth over 17 seconds behind his Racing Ducati team-mate.

Barni Ducati's Xavi Fores claimed the best of the rest for fifth place ahead of MV Agusta's Leon Camier, as Althea BMW's Jordi Torres held off a race-long charge from Michael van der Mark on the Pata Yamaha.

Leandro Mercado on the customer IodaRacing Aprilia beat the factory-assisted Milwaukee Aprilia of Lorenzo Savadori, while Stefan Bradl led the Red Bull Honda charge in 11th.

Roman Ramos narrowly held off Raffele De Rosa at the chequered flag for 13th place as Alex de Angelis and Jake Gagne, wildcarding for Red Bull Honda as Hayden's replacement, claimed a point on debut to round out the top 15.

Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) and Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha) both crashed out in the opening third of the race in separate falls but were both able to walk away unhurt.


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Just yet again goes to show if you're not on a well funded Kawasaki or Ducati you might as well just stay at home....

Chaz Davies is a hero. He had/s a broken back & still managed to win. He is slightly the best rider in WSBK in my opinion based on the fact that the Kawasaki is a better bike than the Ducati but him & Rea should be in MotoGP.

Great ride from Chaz, Rea hung with him for most of the race but never looked like he had enough to overtake.

The victory lap with the 69 flag was quite poignant, the crowd all looked like they were tearing up.

Brilliant by Chaz after his accident. Best rider in Wsbk and would be the champion will a bit more luck and a more consistent motorcycle