Hayes doubles up at Road America
Josh Hayes proved simply unstoppable for a second straight day at the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader, powering away from the field to claim the checkered flag in what can only be viewed as demoralizing fashion by his would-be challengers.
The Monster Energy Graves Yamaha superstar simply owned Road America over the weekend, rounding off his maximum points haul weekend with a conquering 13.906-second victory on Sunday afternoon.
Hayes had nearly a second advantage after just the opening lap and then really closed out the hopes of his opponents with a string of laps in the 2:11s, including a 2:11.216, which stood more than a tenth of a second inside the lap record he established on Saturday morning.
The flawless ride confirmed a turning of the season as the Mississippian has taken a big step forward in his search for a third consecutive AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike title.
Hayes’ Sunday win marked his sixth of the season, doubling his 2011 tally, and upping his career total to 23.
“I don’t really know too much of what to say except the same things you always hear: big thank you to an amazing crew. I have an amazing crew, I have a great motorcycle, and it allows me to just come here and focus on one thing and that’s riding my best.
“I’ve had a great race weekend; I’ve got good starts and my bike was just great from the beginning. We haven’t really changed anything chassis-wise since last weekend at Miller. Things are just clicking and rolling well.”
Meanwhile, Blake Young once again found himself dicing with Hayes’ rookie teammate, Josh Herrin, rather than his title rival. The #79 Yoshimura Suzuki hero and the up-and-coming Yamaha pilot engaged in a thrilling duel for the runner-up position, regularly trading positions and glances as they jockeyed for the spot late in the race.
Young ultimately won the last-lap battle, avenging his defeat for second at Herrin’s hands less than a week ago at Miller Motorsports Park.
Young blasted across the stripe ahead of Herrin by a meager 0.039 seconds.
“It was pretty much the same as yesterday,” Young said of another second-place result. “Riding with Josh Herrin was good. It’s good to see him get up there and dice it out with me. He’s coming around and riding fairly well. Obviously, I mentioned yesterday that we need to make some improvements, but they’re not the type of improvements we’re going to make overnight. Realistically, I was hoping for a better race today, but am I surprised? Not really.”
Herrin said, “I thought it went great. It was definitely more exciting than yesterday. Blake and I had a pretty good battle; we passed each other back and forth. I tried to get him but I didn’t have any real reason to try to stuff it in there in the last corner on the last lap and risk losing the front or something. It was a really good race — the R1 was going really good today. I don’t know how I didn’t get the drive on him to start/finish.”
Jordan Suzuki’s Ben Bostrom continued his recent rise in form with another strong ride. The former World Superbike hero tagged along to Young and Herrin in the race’s early stages before fading to a lonely fourth.
Team Hero’s Danny Eslick narrowly beat his Hero EBR teammate, Geoff May on the Team Amsoil/Hero EBR 1190RS, as the two broke away from a bigger pack that also included second Yoshimura runner Chris Clark, Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing’s Larry Pegram, and KTM/HMC Racing’s Chris Fillmore.
The two formation flew their red-and-white EBRs late in the race with reigning AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike king Eslick winning out for fifth ahead of May.
Clark held onto the fight for fifth deep into the race before running wide in Turn 5 on lap 8 of 13. He carried on to claim a respectable seventh.
Kneedraggers.com/Motul/Fly’s David Anthony took full advantage of a mistake on Pegram’s part (Pegram ran off course) and worked past Fillmore to claim eighth.
Fillmore and Pegram, meanwhile, rounded out the top ten.
National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Roger Hayden’s woes continued today, being hit by a 5-second penalty for jumping the start and then suffering from a problem that saw him finish well down the field in 13th.
Hayes’ monster performance in back-to-back weekends has tilted the title fight decidedly in his favor. The champ now leads Young by 20 points (257-237).
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Martin Cardenas won the Sunday AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike race at Road America, turning the fastest lap of the race on his final time around to take victory against a five-rider pack. Cardenas, winning his sixth victory of the season, took the race by 1.01 seconds on his GEICO Suzuki when his strongest rival in the race, Cameron Beaubier of Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha, crashed in the last corner on the final lap.
“I made a good start and I tried to push and get into a good rhythm, to see if anyone could come with me to the front,” Cardenas said. “I knew the last two laps were important so when the time came, I pushed hard.”
Cardenas now leads the points in the class 206 to 159 over Jason DiSalvo.
DiSalvo started poorly but made his way up to the leading group by halfway before rallying to take second place on his Latus Motors Racing Triumph.
J.D. Beach earned third place, the first GoPro Daytona SportBike podium for his RoadRace Factory/Red Bull team. Tommy Hayden took fourth for Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha, just 0.1 off the podium after an overnight engine change helped his competitiveness.
Jake Zemke put the DucShop Ducati fifth again, less than a second ahead of Dane Westby (M4 Suzuki). Huntley Nash was seventh for LTD Racing, putting in a strong race at Elkhart both times out.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
Stefano Mesa of Kneedraggers.com Yamaha won a wild AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race at Road America on Sunday. Mesa took victory in a dramatic race that came down to the final run to the stripe before first-time AMA Pro winner Mesa crossed the line first.
The last lap’s action spot was turn five. Mesa, Jake Lewis, who won Saturday’s Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race, and reigning SuperSport champ James Rispoli all came into the corner hot. Rispoli, on the inside, lost the front and crashed. That forced Lewis–who led most of the event–wide, and Mesa took the point.
“In the last lap, we all went way too deep,” said Mesa “(James) crashed, and it was a bummer for him, but I got the drive out of there.”
Lewis came charging back, though, passing Mesa in the chicane. Not to be outdone, Mesa returned the favor in Canada Corner and was able to hold off Lewis to the flag.
“I was drafting Jake and trying to make a move like I did on Rispoli yesterday,” said Mesa. “It was really close.”
Corey Alexander (National Guard Fairhills Group) took third place, beating RoadRace Factory/Red Bull teammates Tomas Puerta and Hayden Gillim. Gillim gained one point on Rispoli, who remounted to finish sixth, in the West standings and now trails the New Yorker by 26 points, 181-155.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series
Road America’s three long straights dashed any plans polesitter Tyler O’Hara had for making a second breakaway as he found himself caught up in a three-way drafting battle with his Bartel’s Harley-Davidson teammate, Michael Barnes, and Daytona race winner Kyle Wyman on the KLR Group/Vesrah Suzuki entry.
The three men traded positions repeatedly and brought three contrasting strategic approaches into the final lap. All were positioned where they thought they had the best possibility to win, but only Wyman was proven correct in his assessment.
The youngster slotted into the lead to minimize the damage through his weakest corner, and then took advantage of his superior speed through the track’s final corners to successfully withstand an attempted drafting assault by the Bartel’s duo.
“It’s good to get the first win for our title sponsor, KLR Group, who came on after Daytona,” Wyman said. “It was a good race. I knew it was going to be the three of us dicing it up. I figured out that I was pretty quick through the last few corners of the racetrack but very week in the Carousel. I figured if I could be out front at the end of the Carousel I’d be all right to the finish. I knew I could get a good drive out of the last corner. I led the whole last lap and it worked out to plan.”
While falling short in his attempt to slingshot past Wyman by just 0.157, Barnes held off O’Hara at the flag to shuffle the championship leader back to third and further tighten the title race. O’Hara now leads with 138 to Wyman’s 129 and Barnes’ 123.
— Saturday Report
Defending AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Champion Josh Hayes rang up a resounding victory in the first half of the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader in front of a huge crowd on Saturday at Road America.
Hayes seized control of the contest almost as soon as it began. Starting from pole (Hayes set a blistering National Guard SuperBike track record of 2:11.333), the Monster Energy Graves Yamaha pilot made a couple quick passes and raced off into the distance. The Mississippian’s lead at the conclusion of the opening lap was an astonishing 3.372 seconds, leaving little doubt who would stand atop the podium unless something unexpected happened.
It didn’t. Hayes cruised to his fifth victory of the 2012 season, opening up a crushing 11.348 second lead before the race was halted and called final while Hayes was working the final lap due to rainfall (although some might have thought the mercy rule was in effect).
The start of the race was delayed due to a passing wind and rainstorm but was eventually contested under what were largely dry conditions, as evidenced by Hayes’ best lap of 2:12.121 — almost a second better than any of his competitors managed in qualifying — at least until its abbreviated ending.
“I don’t really know too much of what to say. It was an excellent day,” Hayes said. “The bike was working well, the conditions didn’t bother me or hurt me too much — it was a little sketchy in Turn 5. I was quite careful in that section of the track. About the third lap in I wasn’t believing my pitboard too much; I was pushing pretty hard at that point.
“It looks like I did most of my damage on the first lap. A little bit into the race there I had eased up and Blake started to take some time back out of me so I refocused and was able to put together a couple of good laps and open the gap back up.”
Title rival Blake Young was just as clear in second as Hayes was in first. The Yoshimura Suzuki pilot engaged in a brief tussle with MMP sparring partner Josh Herrin on the second Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1 before breaking free en route to a lonely runner-up result.
Motivated to impress at home, Young quickly thought better of attempting to match Hayes’ torrid pace and collected the maximum number of points that were realistically possible on Saturday with an eye on getting his revenge on Sunday.
“I guess I’ve got to start doing my homework and start racing with Josh again and stop letting him win by as much as he is,” Young said. “It doesn’t really make for very interesting racing. There for a minute I had a pretty exciting first lap — ended up running my foot over in Turn 5; that didn’t feel good.
“Obviously Josh has done his homework and winning by 11 seconds over me… it’s going to be pretty tough it looks like from here on out. We’ve got some work to do and we’ve got to figure it out. I think a lot of it is on my part. I know I’ve got a good team — the Yoshimura Suzuki team is a great team — and I know they are going to be behind me 100%.”
Herrin fell back into a fight for third with Jordan Suzuki’s Ben Bostrom, Attack Performance’s Steve Rapp, Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing’s Larry Pegram, and local hero Jason Farrell.
Herrin and Bostrom slipped away from the bigger group and Herrin ultimately proved successful in withstanding the pressure of his more experienced rival to pick up the fourth podium result of his maiden SuperBike season.
“I could hear Ben behind me the whole time but I was getting lonely there at the end,” Herrin admitted. “Josh (Hayes) beat us by 18 seconds. I’m just glad to be on the podium. It was pretty sketchy the last two laps — that was the only exciting part of the race. I almost crashed like four times. The R1 was running strong and I’m glad to make it up here. We’re third in points and that’s what I’m most happy about.”
Rapp’s day ended early while holding down fifth just ahead of Pegram when the Californian’s Kawasaki ZX-10R lost its chain racing up the hill on the front straight. Pegram inherited the position to complete the top five.
Farrell claimed a superb sixth, while Young’s teammate, Chris Clark, Team Amsoil/Hero EBR’s Geoff May, KTM/HMC Racing’s Chris Fillmore and teammate Stefan Nebel (who started from pitlane) rounded out the top ten.
National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Roger Hayden’s rotten recent luck continued on Saturday. The Kentuckian crashed during final qualifying and then suffered machinery issues during the race, plummeting down the order before retiring from the contest early.
Reigning AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike champ Danny Eslick suffered similar disappointment. The Team Hero EBR entry was black-flagged while racing with the KTMs when his EBR 1190RS started spouting black smoke.
Hayes dominant win extends his building points lead over Young to 14 (226-212) heading into Sunday’s second half of the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
GEICO Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas won the first AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike race at Road America on Saturday. Cardenas got a bad start and dropped outside the top ten but made a methodical charge and was back fighting for the lead by halfway. It was Cardenas’ 22nd AMA Pro victory and extended his record of GoPro Daytona SportBike wins to 21.
Cardenas won by 1.368 seconds. He was able to get away in the closing laps when the battle behind him (Cameron Beaubier, Jason DiSalvo, and Dane Westby) heated up. Beaubier (Y.E.S. Graves Yamaha) took second, ahead of DiSalvo (Latus Motors Racing Triumph).
“My start wasn’t great,” said Cardenas. “I worked my way up. The bike was very fast and handling perfect. I saw the sky and thought it might rain soon, so I moved to the front as soon as I could. It was my plan.”
Dane Westby of the M4 Suzuki team narrowly missed the podium by just a tenth of a second. Bobby Fong (Meen Motorsports) impressed once again, finishing just over eight seconds behind the winner and setting the fast lap of the race (2:19.629) in a quest to catch the lead pack. Jake Zemke was solid on his Ducshop Ducati, earning sixth place.
The battle for seventh might have been the toughest one of all. Cory West (Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki) took the spot ahead of RoadRace Factory/Red Bull’s Jake Gagne and J.D. Beach and Huntley Nash of LTD Racing.
Cardenas now leads DiSalvo in the points, 175 to 134.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
The Saturday race in AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore SuperSport was the typical close, hard-fought contest the class is known for, and this time Jake Lewis of Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki won. Lewis consolidated his lead in the last two laps to take victory at Road America by 3.247 seconds.
“The wind was a huge factor,” said Lewis. “It really pushed us in some of the turns and made it tough.”
The 10-lap race saw polesitter Lewis lead much of the affair with James Rispoli (Orient Express Celtic Racing) shadowing closely in arrears until the race was stopped around halfway by a red flag. In the second part, Lewis once again hounded Rispoli, Stefano Mesa (Kneedraggers.com Yamaha) and Dustin Dominguez (Latus Motors Racing Triumph) but managed to get away a bit after Dominguez overcooked turn five with two laps to go and ran wide.
Mesa made a tough pass around Rispoli in Canada Corner to earn second place, even though Rispoli made a strong bid to retake the position in the final turn.
Dominguez regrouped to take fourth, ahead of RoadRace Factory/Red Bull teammates Tomas Puerta and Hayden Gillim.
Rispoli’s third place finish extended his Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport West Division points lead over Gillim, 166-139.