Kawasaki’s Jonathan Rea bagged WorldSBK Superpole at Laguna Seca by just 0.009s from the Aruba Ducati of Chaz Davies with Alvaro Bautista in third place.
Rea set a 1’21.876 after going to the qualifying tyre early for another hand-in-hand lap with team-mate Leon Haslam and it was enough to bag top spot.
Davies has found pace with the Panigale V4R this weekend in California, continuing his pace from yesterday afternoon to put in a 1’21.885. Team-mate Bautista was the business end of two-tenths further back after running into traffic in the shape of Alessandro Del Bianco on his final lap.
BMW’s Tom Sykes took fourth place and his pole record from 2014 is still in tact but only by fractions as Rea grazed it.
Haslam ended up in the middle of row two, one ahead of privateer Jordi Torres (Team Pedercini Racing Kawasaki) after a brilliant run put him sixth in Superpole, 0.867 from Rea, and ahead of recent podium sensation Toprak Razgatlioglu (Turkish Puccetti Racing) by one place. Torres had been seventh in combined free practice.
The session looked like it was going to be a disaster for Yamaha as first Loris Baz crashed at the Corkscrew at his first attempt and then Michael van der Mark binned it at turn four.
Fortunately, Baz’s Ten Kate crew managed to put hisR1 back together and the Frenchman finished just behind a lacklustre Alex Lowes in ninth place.
Van der Mark didn’t get back out and he will start this afternoon’s race down in 15th but still ahead of Marco Melandri, who is a woeful 17th and behind the wildcard rider JD Beach on his MotoAmerica-spec R1.
Returnee from injury Eugene Laverty (GoEleven Ducati) rounded out the top ten with Markus Reiterberger ending in 11th place on his works BMW and Tati Mercado 12th.
Sandro Cortese, who is making his debut here, was 13th and Michael Rinaldi 14th.
Top ten top speeds
1 19 A. BAUTISTA Ducati Panigale V4 R 264,7
2 21 M. RINALDI Ducati Panigale V4 R 258,9
3 50 E. LAVERTY Ducati Panigale V4 R 257,6
4 7 C. DAVIES Ducati Panigale V4 R 257,6
5 91 L. HASLAM Kawasaki ZX-10RR 254,6
6 1 J. REA Kawasaki ZX-10RR 253,4
7 11 S. CORTESE Yamaha YZF R1 252,2
8 66 T. SYKES BMW S1000 RR 252,2
9 54 T. RAZGATLIOGLU Kawasaki ZX-10RR 251,6
10 22 A. LOWES Yamaha YZF R1 251,0