After a wet warmup this morning, the track had dried out, and the race would be twenty five laps of the shortest circuit of the series at a cooler temperature than usual.
Chaz Davies took the lead from pole position as his Ducati teammate Davide Giugliano's second place start got swallowed up by the Kawasakis of Jonathan Rea and Tom Sykes and the Aprilia of Jordi Torres. Rea went wide, letting Sykes through and Torres took the opportunity to pass Rea as well, but Rea passed him back very quickly, retaining third place.
As all this was going on, Matteo Baioccio stalled his Ducati on the grid and dropped it on its right hand side as everyone behind him swerved to avoid him. A lap later, he would run on entering the corkscrew with what looked like a braking issue, probably caused by his bouncing the bike off the tarmac.
After the first lap, Davies led Sykes and Rea while Giugliano looked for a way past Torres, showing quicker pace but being unable to pass, a common problem at Laguna Seca where the straights between the corners aren't long enough to pass onto or out of.
At the start of the third lap, Davies had built a visible lead of eight tenths of a second from Sykes while Rea was a similar distance from Sykes, but a lap later, Rea had caught Sykes while Davies added a couple of tenths to his lead. Another lap, another couple of tenths, and Davies set the fastest lap of the race on the fifth lap and kept teasing out his lead.
By lap nine, Davies had a two second lead while Sykes and Rea were in the same position, with Rea looking at ways to pass, but not seeing any. Over three seconds back from them, Giugliano was having the same problem with Torres, still not able to find a way past.
With two bikes in the same team, finding an advantage to press to pass is normally difficult, and this is doubly true of Laguna Seca, with no obvious places where you can put in a block pass or power out past a defensive rider and it looked like the gearing on both green bikes was the same and Tom Sykes being good on the brakes, possibly the best in the series, made it even more difficult for Rea to get past and Rea tried at every corner.
On the fourteenth lap, Giugliano finally squeezed past Torres into the corkscrew, dropping the altitude ahead of the Aprilia and retaining his forth place through the following corners. Torres couldn't match the Ducati's pace and Giugliano was finally able to set his own pace, albeit almost eight seconds off the Kawasaki battle in front and ten seconds off his teammate in the lead.
Jonathan Rea started trying passes at every corner, strange lines into the corkscrew, trying to square off the Andretti hairpin, pushing through back markers, risking it all at the final corner, but Tom Sykes had a parry for every thrust. As Chaz Davies held a four second lead with laps rapidly running out, Rea knew that the best he could hope for was second place, and for that he would have to pass Sykes. And that was proving harder than he wanted.
Leon Haslam, fighting to retain his championship standing, crashed out of sixth place at the hairpin but rejoined the race in fourteenth place with four laps left.
On the penultimate lap, after trying the lap before to pass outside the Andretti Hairpin, turn two, Rea tried a pass instead at turn three. Again, Sykes had it covered. every corner, Sykes had it covered. A long run through the corkscrew that gave him speed into turn eleven, Sykes had it covered and, three seconds behind Chaz Davies, the Kawasaki pair started their last lap.
All lap, no matter what Rea did, Sykes had an answer, and, as Sykes made a clean run from the downhill of the corkscrew onwards, he got enough speed up that Rea couldn't make the planned blocking lunge into the last turn and, as Davies won the race from his first ever pole position, Sykes would finally hold off Rea to his worst finish of the year.
Jonathan Rea finally had to settle for the lowest step of the podium.
Chaz Davies's victory elevates him to third place in the title chase, passing Haslam whose thirteenth place finish only netted him three points. Tom Sykes closed the insurmountable gulf to Jonathan Rea's lead to 129 points with nine races left.
|1||7||C. DAVIES||Ducati Panigale R||1'23.739||251,0|
|2||66||T. SYKES||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1.798||1'24.010||253,4|
|3||65||J. REA||Kawasaki ZX-10R||2.107||1'23.852||256,4|
|4||34||D. GIUGLIANO||Ducati Panigale R||15.954||1'24.358||252,2|
|5||81||J. TORRES||Aprilia RSV4 RF||19.661||1'24.458||252,2|
|6||22||A. LOWES||Suzuki GSX-R1000||24.431||1'24.547||251,0|
|7||1||S. GUINTOLI||Honda CBR1000RR SP||26.971||1'24.745||250,4|
|8||60||M. VD MARK||Honda CBR1000RR SP||35.428||1'25.266||245,2|
|9||36||L. MERCADO||Ducati Panigale R||41.261||1'25.415||250,4|
|10||2||L. CAMIER||MV Agusta F4 RR||44.383||1'25.529||246,9|
|11||14||R. DE PUNIET||Suzuki GSX-R1000||52.748||1'25.728||248,7|
|12||40||R. RAMOS||Kawasaki ZX-10R||54.906||1'25.403||244,1|
|13||91||L. HASLAM||Aprilia RSV4 RF||1'18.150||1'24.497||256,4|
|14||23||C. PONSSON||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1'20.220||1'26.924||238,1|
|15||45||G. VIZZIELLO||Kawasaki ZX-10R||1 Lap||1'27.420||238,1|
|16||10||I. TOTH||BMW S1000 RR||1 Lap||1'28.708||240,8|