Superbikes - Laguna WSBK: Laverty leads first qualifying

Aprilia’s Eugene Laverty led the charge and topped the World Superbike timesheets in the first practice qualifying session at the Laguna Seca circuit. The Irishman even clocked a new best lap record of 1’24.482, smashing the record which was originally held by Troy Bayliss back in 2002.

Superbikes - Laguna WSBK: Laverty leads first qualifying

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Laguna WSBK: Laverty leads first qualifying

Laverty set the provisional pole position with twenty minutes remaining and even a fast last lap dash by Nico Canepa was not enough to topple the Aprilia rider from the top of the timing screens. Canepa is standing in for the injured Ducati Alstare rider Carlos Checa, and crossed the line only one one-hundredths of a second off the pace of Laverty’s best lap.

Kawasaki’s Tom Sykes was dominating the session before Laverty stormed ahead, and ended the opening qualifying practice in third, one tenth of a second behind the top two riders, with a 1’24.568. GoldBet BMW’s Marco Melandri ended the session in fourth followed by Red Devils rider Tony Elias. Aprilia’s Sylvain Guintoli did head the timesheets after only his fourth lap, but could not match the speed of his team-mate and ended the morning in seventh, just behind Althea Racing’s Davide Giulgliano.

But the AMA wildcard’s were able to mix things up a little and even outpaced some of the World Superbike contingent. Michael Jordan Motorsport team-mates Roger Lee Hayden and Danny Eslick both found themselves inside the top ten quickest times, with the brother of a certain Nicky Hayden going a fraction slower than his American colleague. But both finished the session eighth and ninth respectively, with GoldBet BMW’s Chaz Davies rounding off the top ten.

Pata Honda’s Leon Haslam finished the session in fourteenth with a 1’25.362, his temporary team-mate Michel Fabrizio finished in thirteenth. The Italian is a replacement for the crocked Jonathan Rea. The Northern Irishman will not be participating in this weekend’s festivities, as he is still recovering from a broken leg which he sustained in a crash at the Nurburgring. But the Isle of Man resident will no doubt be keeping busy, as he became a father for the first time this week as his wife gave birth to a baby boy.

Fellow Brit, Fixi Crescent Suzuki’s Leon Camier was also missing. He is out of action after a crash in Istanbul where he broke his foot. American Blake Young acts as stand-in for the Kent rider, and finished the session eighteenth fastest.

World Supersport rider David Salom finished in fifteenth and was out on track for the first qualifying practice session as a substitute for the still-recovering Kawasaki’s Loris Baz. The young Frenchman fractured a vertebra at the Nurburgring.

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