TOOELE, Utah (May 28, 2012) - Two-time champion Josh Hayes reclaimed the 2012 AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike points lead he surrendered with his Infineon Raceway crash thanks to a decisive, perfect-points performance in the BigM Weekend presented by Lucas Oil at Miller Motorsport Park. The Monster Energy Graves Yamaha ace raced into the lead from pole position and was never challenged, opening up almost a half-second gap by the conclusion of the opening lap and only building his advantage from there. Hayes registered an inch-perfect ride at the front aboard his #1 YZF-R1, working his gap up to an eventual 7.774-second margin of victory.
After putting the finishing touches on his fourth victory of the season, Hayes said, "What an awesome day. The bike was good, things have been pretty smooth for the weekend, we didn't really make too many changes, and we just worked on getting good clean laps. All in all, it was a pretty smooth run. "We couldn't have asked for much more today. It was a beautiful day for racing. It was a perfect Memorial Day. Having the National Guard as the primary sponsor of our series, it was fantastic that on Memorial Day we would be able to put on a good show for them," continued the two-time AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike champion. "Thanks to all the servicemen and women out there who support us and hopefully they were entertained by the show under the umbrella they provide for us."
The Champ's efforts were aided along by the determined efforts of teammate Josh Herrin and National Guard Jordan Suzuki's Roger Hayden, who did well to harry title contender Blake Young -- who had crashed in the morning warm-up -- during the crucial opening laps. Herrin and Hayden both took their shots at Young, trading positions 2-4, while Hayes took full advantage of their dogfight to make his escape. Hayden was not able to maintain the assault for long, however, crashing from a close fourth on lap 4 of 16. That left only National Guard SuperBike freshman Herrin to challenge Young for the runner-up spot. Herrin applied intense pressure on the rear wheel of Young's #79 Yoshimura Suzuki over the bulk of the contest before making finally making his move in the race's dramatic final lap.
The Yamaha upstart attacked to take away second position but Young immediately counterpunched with a hard move back into the spot in the very next corner. Herrin quickly regrouped and registered a decisive maneuver for which the Suzuki championship hopeful had no answer, earning Yamaha a 1-2 on the day. Herrin said, "It was an awesome race other than the fact that Josh was on the same bike and beat me by eight seconds -- probably more; I probably went about half his pace at the end. But it was pretty cool to be riding with Blake. It was a lot of fun. I didn't quite have the pace to dice with him the whole race. I was just trying to learn where he was stronger and where I was stronger. I was able to get up close to him a few times and see that his tire was getting pretty worn out. I got lucky with that pass on the outside. It was pretty sketchy because it was dusty out on the edge of the track but luckily it stuck. I was able to hold him off the rest of the lap. Hopefully we can be a contender for a win later on in the season but for now I'm ecstatic getting second."
After finishing third Young said, "I really enjoy this track, but I don't know what it is -- I've just been in this little funk. I need to pull through it and apologize to my team. For some reason I'm just a little bit off the beat right now and I don't know if I can point a finger at something. I think I need to reevaluate and get focused. I don't have too much time before we'll be home at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin but maybe that's what I need -- to be home with my friends and family -- to get me motivated to be back up at the front and start racing with Josh [Hayes]. He's done this quite a few races already this year. I need to be racing at the front."
Team Amsoil/Hero EBR's Geoff May tracked down Jordan Suzuki's Ben Bostrom to claim fourth. At one point Bostrom looked to be another potential podium contender but eventually faded into the clutches of charging May. The Georgian actually made some headway on the fight for second over the race's second half, taking the checkered flag less than two seconds behind the thrilling Herrin/Young scrap. The second EBR 1190RS of Team Hero's Danny Eslick finished sixth, well clear of seventh-placed Larry Pegram on the Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing BMW S1000RR. Second Yoshimura Racing entry Chris Clark picked up eighth while Kneedraggers.com/Motul/Fly's David Anthony just edged KTM/HMC Racing's Chris Fillmore for ninth.
Josh Hayes ran away from the rest of the field on the #1 Monster Energy Yamaha to take the victory by over 7.7 seconds at round 4 of the 2012 AMA Superbike Championship at Miller Motorsports Park on Memorial Day Monday. Photo courtesy of AMA Pro Road Racing.
Hayes' weekend dominance, combined with teammate Herrin's help, saw the Mississippian transform his four-point championship deficit into a seven-point advantage (194-187) as the series prepares to travel to Young's home track, Road America, in just days.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series
Bartel's Harley-Davidson's Tyler O'Hara claimed a rare runaway victory in the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Series typically noted for its closely fought battles at the front. Just as he became the first rider to claim a second pole position in the class this season on Sunday, on Monday he became the first to score a second win with his convincing triumph. While the season's first races were decided by less than one second combined, O'Hara marched to a 4.260-second margin of victory over KLR Group/Vesrah's Kyle Wyman.
"Ever since we unloaded the bike off the truck it's been awesome," O'Hara said. "I rode here a few years ago on the Supermoto track and wanted to be out here. I'm just really comfortable on this track -- it's fast and flowing. I ran really hard tires and was comfortable out there sliding around. I put in a good charge at the beginning and just maintained the lead." Wyman, in turn, was well clear of third-place finisher Michael Barnes, who took the checkered flag more than 12 seconds behind his race-winning Bartel's Harley-Davidson teammate. O'Hara now leads the points race 83-77 over teammate Barnes.
The exciting AMA Pro Road Racing title fights will resume in mere days as the paddock immediately picks up and heads to the scenic Road America circuit in Elkhart Lake, WI for Round 5 this weekend, June 1-3.
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