ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 2, 2012) - 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.
Josh Hayes took the #1 Graves Motorsports Monster Energy Yamaha YZF-R1 to a dominating 5th win of the season at Road America on Saturday before the race was called short due to heavy rains in the area. AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.
"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.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series
Bartel's Harley-Davidson's Tyler O'Hara picked up the provisional pole for the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series race at Road America. Following a rare XR1200 breakaway win last weekend at Miller Motorsports Park, O'Hara looked equally dominant in qualifying today. The Californian held down an advantage of well over a second over teammate Michael Barnes (O'Hara's best was a 2:36.546 to Barnes' 2:37.989).
KLR Group/Vesrah Racing's Kyle Wyman (2:38.052) and brother Travis Wyman on the Harv's Harley-Davidson entry round out the provisional front row for Sunday's 7-lap final, with final qualifying scheduled for Sunday morning.
SPEED2 Live Streaming Broadcasts and Live Timing & Scoring
Follow along live as the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport and AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series riders battle it out by logging onto http://www.speed2.com. SPEED2 is a broadband service available to customers of Time Warner, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, DISH and Cox. For more information and instructions on gaining access to all of the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com and AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series races, please review the SPEED2 FAQ located at http://www.speed2.com/faq.
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