Davies has raced both AMA and one MotoGP at the California circuit and that exprienced helped him to a best lap of 1'25.218 on his final run. It enough to ward off the attentions of former MotoGP man Melandri who was under two-tenths slower than the Welshman.
Jordan Suzuki team-mates Roger Lee Hayden and Danny Eslick scrapped it out for top spot initially but had to give best to the WSBJK regulars. The pair were third and fourth respectively, three and four tenths in arrears and it took fast laps from the BMW men to depose Hayden from the number one spot with only a few minutes in hand.
Laguna rookie Eugene Laverty learned fast to take fifth place and be only 0.054s slower than Eslick while Red Devils rider Toni Elias, another man with track knowledge, was sixth and half a second in arrears.
Sylvain Guintoli, who raced at Laguna in MotoGP, was seventh while championship leader Tom Sykes, second in the early stages, slipped to eighth place with Davide Guigliano and Nico Canepa, who is standing in for the injured Carlos Checa, rounded out the top ten.
Leon Haslam, who last raced here in 2004 and emerged with a broken wrist, was 13th but it will take the injured Briton time to get used to such a physical track given he is not back to full fitness.