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Chaz Davies has taken his second World Superbike Championship win of the season with a commanding lights-to-flag victory in the first race of the day at Laguna Seca,

Starting from his first-ever WSBK pole position, Davies made no mistakes from the lights to lead into the opening bend before steadily developing his advantage over the chasing Kawasakis of Tom Sykes and Jonathan Rea as they tussled for the remaining podium positions.

Indeed, Davies was never realistically challenged as he quickly broke the slipstream of the bikes behind over the opening revolutions, before being allowed to escape further as the race progressed.

The Welshman's cause was certainly helped by the fierce battle developing behind between Kawasaki Racing team-mates Sykes and Rea. Getting good starts from the second row, Sykes and Rea held station for the opening half of the race, but the Ulsterman would begin to put pressure on his team-mate during the latter half.

However, though seemingly quicker in clear air, Rea could not make an impression on some impressively staunch defence from the 2013 champion. Indeed, even when Rea did nose in front with some ballsy dives at the final turn and then again at the first corner, Sykes simply regained the position when his counterpart ran wide on the exit.

Proceeding to keep it tidy all the way to the chequered flag, Sykes' efforts were enough to earn him second position, with Rea forced to settle for - remarkably - his worst result of the season in third.

As a result of their contretemps, Davies was allowed to simply ease his way to victory, his second of the year after triumphing at Aragon, while it also has the effect of lifting him to third in the standings at the expense of Leon Haslam, who could only finish 13th after suffering a fall at turn one in the closing stages.

Davies' team-mate Davide Giugliano may have considered himself a potential contender had a poor start from second place not dropped him to seventh initially. Though he quickly came back to fifth place, he would find himself bottled up behind the stubborn Jordi Torres for 13 laps before eventually overtaking the Spaniard for fourth.

With Haslam crashing out of sixth, Alex Lowes picked up a positive result on the Voltcom Crescent Suzuki in his place, ahead of PATA Honda duo Sylvain Guintoli and Michael van der Mark, the latter making good progress from 15th to finish eighth.

Rounding out the top ten, Leandro Mercado crossed the line in ninth on the Barni Ducati, ahead of MV Agusta's Leon Camier, who prevailed in a race-long battle with Randy de Puniet and Roman Ramos. Behind the recovering Haslam, Christophe Ponsson and Gianluca Vizziello completed the points' paying positions.

Elsewhere, David Salom was set for a top ten finish, only to retire on the final lap, while Althea Ducati endured a dismal start to the day when Niccolo Canepa failed to get off the line before team-mate Matteo Baiocco went off track and out of the race on the opening lap. BMW's Ayrton Badovini was also a non-finisher having run top ten initially.

 

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