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LEXINGTON, Ohio (July 13, 2012) - Josh Hayes once again proved his mettle on a difficult day at the track to open the Buckeye SuperBike Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire in which the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike stars were greeted by a tricky green circuit at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
The early afternoon leaderboard displayed wet weather-like times despite sunny skies, nearly ten seconds off the expected pace as the riders got acclimated to the surface and the track slowly began to come in. The Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1 pilot, however, ultimately logged laps of more familiar speed as the day went progressed, nearing his 2011 mark thanks to his inch-perfect placement around an improving but still one-line circuit.
The Mississippian, who grabbed the provisional pole at 1:25.615, said, "Pretty interesting day... First lap I rolled out and I thought they had left a wheel spacer out of my bike or the rear axle was loose. I rolled all the way around the track slow, even coming into the pits it didn't feel right. I came in and grabbed the rear tire and said 'something's wrong, something's broken.' They went through the whole thing and found nothing. I went back out and saw other people were as scared as I was. I just kind of settled in and did a whole lot of laps. I'm really quite surprised to be in the '25s and be so close to what I qualified at last year -- '25.3 -- because it sure doesn't feel like that riding around the racetrack. I guess things are going okay. I feel like we're struggling a little bit but they're struggling a little more than me. We'll just keep our head down and keep focused and see what we can make happen."
He continued, "The best way I can describe it is the track feels like it's alive underneath you and squirming and moving around. Like it's not us moving around, it's the track that's moving. I have no idea. Every year we show up and have that to some extent but this year just seems incredibly worse than I remember. Right now it feels like we're threading the needle. There is one line and it's really narrow. It's not easy to pass. If you can be very precise and hit those lines well, you can put in good, fast lap times. If you get off line it costs dearly." Hayes is perhaps a bit extra motivated to hold that position tomorrow as Mid-Ohio was the solitary circuit at which he failed to score the pole a year ago.
Josh Hayes is shown on the #1 Graves Motorsports Monster Energy Yamaha YZF-R1 in route to setting fast time during day one activities at Mid-Ohio in the AMA Superbike Championship qualifying session on Friday July 13. AMA Pro Road Racing photo by Brian J. Nelson.
"This is the one I missed," Hayes said. "I was actually on pole on Friday here last year, but Blake [Young] ended up getting me on Saturday. We'll have to see at how the track is in the morning. I don't know if it will be better or worse when it's cooler quite honestly. The track seems to be getting better every time we ride it. We'll just have to see how the morning goes."
Another veteran racer who used every ounce of his experience to excel on Friday was Attack Performance's Steve Rapp. The Californian out-paced regular podium contenders like Josh Herrin, Roger Hayden, and 2011 Mid-Ohio winner Blake Young to rank second to Hayes on Friday. Rapp pushed his Attack Performance Kawasaki ZX-10R around the undulating circuit with a best time of 1:25.989, standing as the only other rider outside of Hayes to break into the '25s. National Guard SuperBike freshman Herrin was right on Rapp's heels, circulating at 1:26.068 on the second works Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1. National Guard Jordan Suzuki's Hayden completed the provisional front row at the scene of his maiden SuperBike pole, racked up at Mid-Ohio one year ago.
Young, who earned pole and won a race here in 2011, was relegated to the provisional second row. The Yoshimura Suzuki ace is desperately looking for a way to reel in his escaping title rival but was nearly a second removed from Hayes on the charts today, 0.861 seconds back in fifth. Local hero Larry Pegram was next on the Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing BMW S1000RR with on-form Geoff May seventh aboard the Team Amsoil/Hero EBR 1190RS. Hayden's Michael Jordan Motorsports teammate, Ben Bostrom, was eighth quick on Friday on the #23 Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000, while Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki's Taylor Knapp and Team Hero EBR's Danny Eslick completed the Friday top ten.
Hayes, who has already taken eight victories in 2012, including maiden premier class victories at Daytona International Speedway, Road Atlanta, Miller Motorsports Park, and Barber Motorsports Park, will look to get his revenge for his weakest outing of his 2011 campaign by securing pole and returning to the top of the podium on Saturday at Mid-Ohio.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Jason DiSalvo of Team Latus Motors Racing took the provisional pole at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Friday afternoon in the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike class. DiSalvo's best lap was timed at 1:29.572. "It was a good session and we spent a majority of the session working on race setup. Being as how AMA Pro splits the Friday session, it makes it hard to do that and then turn in a fast lap, too," said DiSalvo. "With a chance of some weather rolling in, we had to go ahead and make sure we put that lap in. With 13 or 14 minutes to go, we made one big suspension adjustment and we able to put in some flyers at the end." The session was called approximately five minutes early due to a red flag.
Joining DiSalvo on the overnight front row are previous Mid-Ohio race winner Dane Westby (M4 Broaster Chicken Suzuki), Cameron Beaubier (Y.E.S/Graves/Yamaha) and points leader Martin Cardenas (GEICO Suzuki). Jake Zemke (Ducshop Ducati), Tommy Hayden (Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha,) Bobby Fong (Meen Motorsports,) and J.D. Beach provisionally qualified on the second row.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
Dustin Dominguez made it two Latus Motors Racing Triumphs leading the way as he broke the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport lap record during the afternoon qualifying session. A previous winner at the track, Dominguez managed to top the class for up-and-coming racers. "We got a pretty good lap time in. We spent most of the time on a medium tire," said Dominguez. "We did 26 laps on a tire and I got a 30.7 at the end." James Rispoli (Orient Express Celtic Racing) was second, 0.7 back. Stefano Mesa (Kneedraggers.com Yamaha) and Hayden Gillim (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull) also showed the speed on Friday to join Dominguez on the front row.
How to Catch the Action
This weekend's AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike and GoPro Daytona SportBike doubleheaders will be featured on SPEED in a set of back-to-back, same-day delayed broadcasts, scheduled to begin at 11:00 p.m. ET/8:00 p.m. PT on Saturday and Sunday nights.
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.
AMA Pro Road Racing Live Timing & Scoring presented by Cortech offers fans real-time access to results from on-track sessions at http://live.amaproracing.com/rr/.
Between the races, stay connected with AMA Pro Road Racing at www.twitter.com/AMAProSBK and www.facebook.com/AMAProRoadRacing.
Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course Event Activities
Though there are dozens of hours of track time between practices, qualifying and races, there is plenty to be seen off track, including a fireworks display on Saturday night and motorcycle stunt shows by team BikeStyles performing in the upper paddock throughout the weekend. Prior to the races on Saturday and Sunday, fans with Pit and Paddock Passes are able to get onto pit lane for a fan walk and autograph opportunities. Bikes and riders from all four classes will be on the grid during the fan walks, making for a packed pit lane.
Weekend tickets start at $60 and daily tickets at $40. General parking is free and children 12 and under are also admitted free. Visit www.midohio.com anytime or call 800-MID-OHIO (643-6446) Monday through Friday from 8 a.m.- 5 p.m. to order tickets or for more information.
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at www.amaproracing.com.
For additional information contact:
AMA Pro Racing Communications, (386) 492-1014, firstname.lastname@example.org