A minor technical issue this morning meant limited track time for Lowes, but that didn't stop the 28-year-old Briton from leading the way for Yamaha with fourth place at the end of the first 50-minute practice. The time lost this morning meant that Lowes was playing catch up this afternoon, working to refine his race set-up rather than pushing for a one-off fast lap, but he still managed to improve his lap time to end the day eighth overall and less than a second from the top spot.
Van der Mark was also on the pace from the off this morning, finishing one place and just 0.016s behind his Pata Yamaha teammate at the end of FP1. The 26-year-old Dutch rider made some set-up changes to his R1 ahead of FP2 that didn't bring the improvements expected, which meant he was unable to improve on his previous best lap time and ended the day ninth on combined times.
It was a baptism of fire for Cortese today as, unlike his fellow Yamaha riders, the reigning Supersport World Champion has never previously raced at Laguna Seca. The GRT Yamaha Supported WorldSBK rider made steady progress in both of today's sessions, which he finished in 11th place and just over a second off provisional pole.
The bumpy nature of the Laguna Seca track caused some problems for Melandri on the opening day, with the GRT Yamaha rider unable to find a confidence inspiring set-up despite trying a number of different solutions on his R1. The veteran Italian, who announced this week that he will retire at the end of the season, will work through the data with his crew tonight, in a bid to find a solution for tomorrow that will allow him to improve on his 12th place finish today.
It was Loris Baz who ended the opening day as the highest placed Yamaha on the timesheet, with the Ten Kate Yamaha rider improving his lap time by over half a second in FP2 to finish in sixth place.