Sykes wins among red flags
World Superbike championship leader Tom Sykes kept his cool among the carnage to win race one at Laguna Seca.
It was third time lucky for Yorkshireman Sykes (Kawasaki) after red flags twice stopped the action and the race was ultimately shortened to just 12 laps instead of the scheduled 26.
Chaz Davies (BMW) was second and Eugene Laverty (Aprilia) was third.
A crash from Jordan Suzuki's Danny Eslick caused the first red flag, while his team-mate Roger Lee Hayden, Briton Leon Haslam (Honda) and Ducati's Niccolo Canepa all suffered at the second time of asking.
All four were reported to be unhurt and set to start race two on Sunday.
Sykes had looked good in the two aborted runs, as had his closest rival in the championship Aprilia's Sylvain Guintoli, who started in pole, but both began badly when the race got under way for the final time.
Davies and fellow BMW rider Marco Melandri made the early running, but Sykes took advantage when Guintoli tried to take the Italian, moving ahead of his French rival and into third.
Sykes then took Melandri and finally worked his way into first place on lap 10 with a fine overtaking manoeuvre to pass Davies.
The win extended Sykes' lead to 22 points over Guintoli, who finished fifth, with Laverty a further 13 points back.