DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Defending AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike champion Josh Hayes kicked off the 2012 season on the right note by taking the provisional pole on Thursday for this weekend’s opening rounds of the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike at Daytona International Speedway.
Aboard the No. 1 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha, Hayes toured the 2.91-mile road course with a fast lap of one minute, 38.385 seconds, 106.114 mph.
The Gulfport, Miss., native will try to hold onto the top spot during the final SuperBike qualifying session on Friday morning. The 15-lap Round 1 of the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike is scheduled for Friday afternoon at 4 p.m. with the second round set for Saturday at 11 a.m.
“I’ve worked pretty hard (training) in the offseason,” Hayes said. “I feel really good on the bike. I’m doing lots of laps. I’m comfortable. I’m having a lot of fun riding the motorcycle. I didn’t ride very much in the offseason. I have tested only four days since riding a GP bike in November. All in all, I’m really happy.”
If Hayes retains the pole Friday morning, he will earn a point toward the season-ending championship.
“Every time I get on the motorcycle, I want to be the best guy riding around the race track,” Hayes said. “If you strive for that, I think success comes along with it. I’m going to keep doing that. It works for me.”
Rounding out the top five in provisional SuperBike qualifying were Blake Young (Suzuki), Roger Hayden (Suzuki), Josh Herrin (Yamaha) and Ben Bostrom (Suzuki).
On the 3.51-mile road course in n provisional AMA Pro Motorcycle-SuperStore.com SuperSport qualifying, Corey Alexander aboard the No. 5 Suzuki took the pole with a speed of 112.093 mph. In the Vance & Hines XR-1200, Kyle Wyman captured the pole with a speed of 99.782 mph.
Both Vance & Hines XR-1200 and SuperSport will have final qualifying sessions on Friday morning prior to their afternoon events. Also on tap Friday is Daytona SportBike qualifying for Saturday’s 71st running of the Daytona 200 where the fastest rider will earn the coveted Rolex watch.