As the riders relaxed on the grid before the race, Eugene Laverty's Suzuki had the tank off and the throttle bodies on a towel on the tarmac as his engineers hurried to fix a problem. The 21°C Californian sun ensured that anyone who would start would do so on a hot dry track.
Tom Sykes got to the first turn ahead of Sylvain Guintoli while Marco Melandri tried to pass everyone on the outside, slotting in between Guintoli and Chaz Davies and then passing Guintoli, making the most of his exemplary start. As they approached the corkscrew, the plummeting chicane that defines the character of Laguna Seca, Sykes entered the first section too deep, going wide instead of risking a crash, and the Aprilias passed him as he took the Valentino Rossi line across the gravel.
On the second lap, Chaz Davies, in fourth place, crashed out as his suspension unloaded on turn seven, and he took longer than looked healthy to get to his feet, but he was able to leave the area under his own steam, and before the red flags were needed.
Jonathan Rea ran off the track on the sixth lap and put himself back to tenth place from fifth, and Eugene Laverty, having had his bike put back together in time for the start, ran off the track on the next lap, suffering from an inevitable technical problem. He rejoined the track with his hand up, headed to the pit lane and handed the bike back to the mechanics.
Melandri was quicker in the first half of the lap, but Guintoli was able to close the gap in the second half, almost passing on the entrance to turn eleven, the last corner, but Laguna Seca's reputation as a difficult track to overtake on was upheld and for fifteen laps, with Guintoli unable to make a convincing pass, and with ten laps to go, Melandri finally eked out a gap. Guintoli had, at this point, over a second lead over Sykes in third and the race finally started to stretch out.
Marco Melandri added a few tenths of a second to his lead over Sylvain Guintoli and crossed the finish line after a little showboating that reduced his three second lead to under a second. Tom Sykes, complaining of no edge grip, finished five seconds later.
Davide Giugliano in fourth place was joined by Toni Elias, but Giugliano was able to make his Ducati very wide and he kept his position to the finish line, and Jonathan Rea was able to recover from his tenth place to sixth ahead of his teammate Leon Haslam.
The Evo battle was won by David Salom, and the first American at Laguna Seca was Geoff May in 18th.
|1||33||M. MELANDRI||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||1'23.575||251,0|
|2||50||S. GUINTOLI||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||0.905||1'23.559||256,4|
|3||1||T. SYKES||Kawasaki ZX-10R||6.627||1'23.748||258,3|
|4||34||D. GIUGLIANO||Ducati 1199 Panigale R||13.574||1'23.624||254,6|
|5||24||T. ELIAS||Aprilia RSV4 Factory||13.855||1'24.117||252,8|
|6||65||J. REA||Honda CBR1000RR||15.575||1'23.987||257,0|
|7||91||L. HASLAM||Honda CBR1000RR||18.820||1'24.192||255,2|
|8||22||A. LOWES||Suzuki GSX-R1000||20.184||1'24.381||250,4|
|9||76||L. BAZ||Kawasaki ZX-10R||34.479||1'24.535||252,2|
|10||44||D. SALOM||Kawasaki ZX-10R EVO||37.463||1'24.738||247,5|
|11||59||N. CANEPA||Ducati 1199 Panigale R EVO||45.440||1'24.775||251,0|
|12||52||S. BARRIER||BMW S1000 RR EVO||47.538||1'25.027||245,8|
|13||67||B. STARING||Kawasaki ZX-10R EVO||49.750||1'25.419||241,9|
|14||11||J. GUARNONI||Kawasaki ZX-10R EVO||55.420||1'25.678||240,3|
|15||19||L. CAMIER||MV Agusta F4 RR||58.449||1'25.834||246,4|
|16||21||A. ANDREOZZI||Kawasaki ZX-10R EVO||1'08.922||1'25.694||244,1|
|17||16||G. RIZMAYER||BMW S1000 RR||1'17.853||1'26.281||246,4|
|18||99||G. MAY||EBR 1190 RX||1'18.084||1'26.529||243,0|
|19||18||C. ULRICH||Honda CBR1000RR||1 Lap||1'26.925||242,4|
|20||32||S. MORAIS||Kawasaki ZX-10R EVO||3 Laps||1'25.984||242,4|
|RET||72||L. PEGRAM||EBR 1190 RX||3 Laps||1'26.216||243,6|
|RET||56||P. SEBESTYEN||BMW S1000 RR EVO||10 Laps||1'26.444||247,5|
|RET||20||A. YATES||EBR 1190 RX||12 Laps||1'27.281||236,0|
|RET||58||E. LAVERTY||Suzuki GSX-R1000||18 Laps||1'24.042||255,2|
|RET||7||C. DAVIES||Ducati 1199 Panigale R||24 Laps||250,4|
|STH||2||C. IDDON||Bimota BB3 EVO||48.321||1'25.291||248,1|
|STH||86||A. BADOVINI||Bimota BB3 EVO||18 Laps||1'25.545||244,1|