-- AMA SBK 2012 - New Orleans - Saturday Report
Three-time AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike champion Josh Hayes gave his home fans a one-race summary of the sort of domination he's delivered throughout his entire 2012 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing campaign on Saturday at NOLA Motorsports Park.
The Monster Energy Graves Yamaha ace marched away right from the start. He gapped the field by over a second on the opening lap and built his lead from there to claim the first race of the weekend's SuperBike doubleheader at the Triumph Big Kahuna New Orleans presented by Dunlop Tire and LeoVince.
The Mississippian collected the 15th victory of his unprecedented season with more than ten seconds in hand today, demonstrating his superiority even after securing the 2012 crown a round early.
The win is the 32nd of Hayes' premier-class career, tying him with AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike legend Miguel DuHamel for second on the all-time list.
"I had a great race -- the most drama I had was I did a little 'poppa-wheelie' on the start," Hayes said. "It took me a second to get it down and get going... The first lap everything went pretty clean. I didn't really protect any areas on the racetrack; I just put in a good clean lap. There have been a couple sections of the track that I've owned through the weekend so I just tried to hit my marks on those areas of the racetrack and got myself a gap pretty early.
"I didn't have a single slip or slide out there. I was pretty comfortable and having a lot of fun. I had so many people come out here this weekend; I just wanted to do well for them. I'm glad I was able to win the race."
Once again, Yoshimura Suzuki's Blake Young overcame a second-row start to prove he's still the next best thing to Hayes on the circuit. The Suzuki pilot got a terrific launch off the line, storming into second. From there he waged a battle deep into the contest with Jordan Suzuki's Ben Bostrom as they quickly broke free of a multi-rider melee for fourth.
Late in the contest, Young had second position firmly under control when Bostrom suffered an apparent mechanical issue. The Californian dropped well off the pace and down to 15th in the final finishing order.
"I got a pretty good start from the second row," Young said. "I've had to learn to start from the second row because I can't seem to get it together in qualifying to get up on the front row. I got off to a fairly good start. The only thing I would have liked to do better is go faster on the first couple of laps. I'm pretty happy. It was a good race. I'm happy to get second for Yoshimura Suzuki; the guys are working good for me as always. Tomorrow I think we can apply a few things we learned today with the motorcycle and I learned a few things as a rider. Hopefully we can put that all together and race with Josh a little bit and make it exciting for the fans."
Bostrom's Michael Jordan Motorsports teammate, Roger Hayden, assumed third from Bostrom. It was a hard climb for the Kentuckian, who dropped outside the top ten on the opening lap and systematically worked his way forward as the race progressed.
Late in the race, Hayden was officially more than five seconds ahead of fourth, and yet at the same time, in an on-track fight with Team Venezuela's Robertino Pietri and KTM/HMC Racing's Chris Fillmore. Both Pietri and Fillmore were penalized five seconds for having crossed the white line next to the wall on the outside of the track's final corner, potentially spoiling breakthrough rides for both men.
However, Fillmore (fourth) and Pietri (fifth) ultimately still finished in the same position in the final results as they did on track, having pulled well clear of Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing BMW's Larry Pegram in sixth.
Third-place finisher Hayden said, "It was kind of an exciting race for me. I got a bad start and kind of got pinched off and lost a few spots. I tried to make it all back up in Turn 4 and ran off the track. I think after the first lap I was 12th or 13th. I made up a few spots and then I passed Dave Anthony and he got into the back of me and off the track I went again. I went back to 12th. I just picked guys off slowly and didn't try to force anything. Third place is a bit of a gift -- I don't know what happened to Ben's bike. Not the best race, but we got third and we're third in points, which is my best season finish so far. Tomorrow we'll try to make the bike a little better, get a better start, and try to not let these guys get away at the beginning."
Seventh went to Riders Discount K&L Supply's Taylor Knapp, ahead of Attack Performance's Steve Rapp, who earlier ran in fourth.
Kneedraggers.com/Motul/Fly Racing's David Anthony came home in ninth, while EvanSteelPerformance.com BMW's Aaron Yates rounded out the top ten as the SuperBike star continues to find his for in his return to action.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
It was a true showdown in AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike. GEICO Suzuki's Martin Cardenas clinched the title in Miami, but many times during the 2012 season he had to watch Cameron Beuabier, who had no title aspirations after an earlier injury, win races for Y.E.S /Graves/Yamaha. With the championship decided, both riders could go for it in New Orleans.
Beaubier came out on top as Cardenas crashed out in the waning laps while the duo fought for position at the front. It was the seventh win of the year for Beaubier, which ties him with Cardenas for the most victories on the season in GoPro Daytona SportBike.
Cardenas rode off into the lead twice, as the race was stopped by a red flag caused by an ugly crash that happened on lap three when Meen Motorsports' Bobby Fong hit the rear of polesitter Jake Gagne's RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha in turn one. After the race was restarted, Cardenas once again pulled away, only to have Beaubier charge through the pack and catch up with the Colombian. Cardenas had several near-crashes before relinquishing the point to Beaubier. The two-time Daytona SportBike Champion had just slipped back into the lead before crashing out of the final series of turns with two to go.
"I was trying to make my way up towards the front," said Beaubier. "I put my head down and managed to catch up to Cardenas. He made a mistake and crashed. It's not the way I wanted to win but my team gave me a great bike."
Dane Westby finished second for M4 Suzuki, maintaining second place in the series points. He beat J.D. Beach on the RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha and Tommy Aquino on the Kneedraggers.com Yamaha, who tangled in the final corners.
Jake Zemke earned a top five on the DucShop Ducati. Jason DiSalvo was sixth on his Latus Motors Racing-branded Triumph. David Gaviria earned seventh on his Kneedraggers.com Yamaha.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
Celtic Racing/Orient Express Racing's James Rispoli did exactly what he needed to on Saturday to not only lock up the 2012 AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport West Division Championship but the overall SuperSport National Championship as well. Rispoli rode a measured race, consistently battling in podium contention before ultimately being credited in fourth in the red-flagged concluded contest.
The West Region and overall National Championships are in addition to Rispoli's triumphant 2011 season in which he claimed the East Region and overall National Championships.
"It feels great," Rispoli said. "To win the second one... it was just as hard as the first. These boys kept me honest... Hats off to everybody in the SuperSport class. I'm really happy with how the whole season has gone and how the whole team has gelled. I hope it's the right move and a good step for the future."
Saturday's race was won in lopsided fashion by RoadRace Factory/Red Bull's Hayden Gillim. Gillim was in devastating form, slicing into the lead and opening up a 1.5-second advantage at the end of the first lap. That lead was well over three seconds just one lap later and quickly into the double digits, where Gillim maintained the gap until the race was called complete.
"It's been good all weekend," Gillim said, after earlier securing the pole position. "The bike has been fantastic and the whole team has been meshing really well together. The race was amazing. I got off to a pretty good start, worked my way up to the lead, and just managed the pace from there."
While Rispoli's title victories stole the headlines, the East Region battle took a major turn as well. Castrol Triumph's Dustin Dominguez worked his way into second in the race but was tracked down by title rival Jake Lewis on the Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki. Lewis overtook him on the front straight and moments later Dominguez crashed out of the race entering Turn 1, resulting in the red flag that ended the contest.
Additionally, East Region contender Stefano Mesa crashed on the race's original opening lap, which also brought out a red flag and led to a complete restart. As a result, Lewis has surpassed Dominguez in the standings and now holds a commanding East Region lead, boasting a 17-point advantage heading into Sunday's season finale.
"Bummer for (Dominguez), but I'm happy to be leading the championship for the whole team," Lewis said. "We just need to finish strong tomorrow and hopefully I'll get my first AMA Pro championship."
Gillim's teammate, Tomas Puerta, finished third, handing the RoadRace Factory/Red Bull squad their first-ever double podium result.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series
Jake Holden (M.O.B. Racing) won provisional pole for the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series race on Saturday. The veteran and former AMA Pro race winner was able to top the charts with a lap of 1:51.038 at the 2.75-mile, 16-turn circuit.
The three main title contenders in the XR Showdown, Michael Barnes (KLR Group), Tyler O'Hara (Bartel's H-D), and Benny Carlson (Suburban H-D) all qualified on the provisional front row, following Holden. Barnes currently leads O'Hara by two points, with Carlson a further six points behind O'Hara. After tomorrow's 15-lap race, one of those three will likely be crowned the 2012 AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 champ.
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