Despite suffering a back injury at the previous round in Misano just a couple of weeks before the start of the Laguna Seca round of the championship, Chaz Davies (Aruba.it Racing - Ducati) stamped his authority hard and early in America, ending up fastest on Friday.
Behind him, and eventually only 0.11 seconds behind, was Jonathan Rea (Kawasaki Racing Team) followed by the second works Ducati of Marco Melandri (Aruba.it Racing – Ducati).
In a change around of fortunes after a change of chassis geometry for his RSV-4, Eugene Laverty (Milwaukee Aprilia) started his Laguna weekend fourth fastest, despite being one of many crashers. Tom Sykes (Kawasaki Racing Team) was fifth and privateer Panigale rider Xavi Fores (Barni Racing Ducati) sixth.
Seventh, and looking confident from the start, was Leon Camier (MV Agusta Reparto Corse) with Alex Lowes (Pata Yamaha Official WorldSBK Team) a faller, but eventually eighth. Misano race leader Jordi Torres (Althea BMW Racing Team) was ninth and Pedercini SC-Racing Project rider Alex De Angelis tenth of the 21 riders on display.
Stefan Bradl (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) crashed out at The Corkscrew early in the afternoon session, bringing out the red flags and delaying the second hour-long practice session. His new team-mate for the weekend, Jake Gagne (Red Bull Honda World Superbike Team) crashed in the same spot later in the session, bringing out a second red flag. Bradl ended up 14th and Gagne 17th in a session that ran on almost half an hour beyond its scheduled finishing time.
Superpole gets underway on Saturday, shortly before the first race of the weekend, which is scheduled at 1400 local time in California.