Jonathan Rea took a dominant victory over team-mate Tom Sykes in the second race of the US World Superbike round to extend his championship lead to 59 points heading into the summer break.
Starting from the third row of the grid, there were some fears that the tight nature of the Laguna Seca circuit could see Saturday’s top three struggle to make their way through the pack.
However, those fears were never realised as Tom Sykes blasted into the lead on the opening lap after a sensational launch from seventh on the grid, while Rea found himself in second at the end of the first lap.
The Northern Irishman set about hunting Sykes down, blasting the lap record with a 1m23.275s on lap two in the process.
By now Rea was right on the tail of the sister factory Kawasaki, and took the lead from Sykes into Turn 3.
Sykes’ pace was not strong enough to halt Rea’s charge, and the double world champion cruised into the distance to take his 47th career WorldSBK win by three seconds.
Race one winner Chaz Davies could not make the same progress through the field in the early stages as the KRT pair, the Ducati rider moving up to third on the sixth lap.
Lapping quicker than the leading two, the time spent making his way through traffic meant second was the highest Davies could aim for.
The Welshman closed the gap to Sykes down to just under a second but could make no further advances, the Kawasaki rider using up the last remnants of grip from his tyres to keep Davies at bay for second.
Race two pole man Marco Melandri once again took the chequered flag in a lonely fourth spot, the Italian well over 10 seconds adrift of team-mate Davies. Barni Racing’s Xavi Fores was a further six seconds back in fifth.
Eugene Laverty fell victim to a front tyre issue on Saturday which caused him to crash out of the top six, but made amends in race two with sixth on his Milwaukee Aprilia ahead of Ioda Aprilia’s Leandro Mercado.
Lorenzo Savadori crossed the line in eighth on the second Milwaukee RSV4, while Alex Lowes fended off Yamaha team-mate Michael van der Mark to secure ninth.
Stefan Bradl found pace in this morning’s warm-up on his Honda and carried that through to the race to claim 11th after an early scrap with the Yamaha pair.
Roman Ramos headed Alex De Angelis for 12th, while Randy Krummenacher pipped rookie Jake Gagne on the second Honda to 14th. Jakub Smrz ended his WorldSBK return 16th ahead of a lapped Ondrej Jezek.
Leon Camier was denied a repeat top six finish after a technical problem forced him out on lap seven. He joined the Althea BMW duo of Jordi Torres and Raffaele De Rosa on the sidelines, both of whom crashing on lap four and seven respectively. Ayrton Badovini also crashed out.