Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden raced to an exciting victory on Saturday at the eighth round of the AMA Pro Superbike Championship at VIR in Alton, Virginia, making it the fourth win of his 2010 season.
Hayden came into the round knowing that he needed to secure a win to chop down the nine-point gap between him and the series leader. And after his win, he is only one point shy of the leading the class in the race to the Championship.
“This feels good and I really feel like we needed this one,” Hayden said after the race. “I wanted to be in there and give it a good shot and my team has been working really hard.”
Hayden qualified third and started on the front row of the grid. After some slight changes to the bike setup after practice, he set out to put himself on the podium. Right off the start, Hayden took the lead and set the pace. He found himself in second and third a few times during the course of the race, but he was never far from the front of the pack.
On the last lap, he was in second and only a fraction-of-a-second behind the leader. As the finish line and the chequered flag came into view, he rolled on the power of the Suzuki GSX-R1000 and crossed the finish line first. He was so focused on fighting to the finish that he missed the turn after the finish line and ended up rolling through the grass of VIR’s infield during the cool down lap. But he kept the bike upright and rolled into the winner’s circle unsure of where he placed. As official word came down from the AMA, he and his Rockstar Makita Suzuki team celebrated at the podium.
“I honestly didn’t think I’d won because I quit looking at the finish line when I realised I was going too fast and wasn’t pointed the right way to make the turn at the end, so I wasn’t so happy at the end there,” Hayden said. “I was just concerned with keeping the bike upright in the grass. But now it feels good to be on the winning end of a close one. I feel like I had myself in the right position today.”