MONTEREY, Calif. (July 20, 2013) – Triple AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike champion Josh Hayes raised his game to meet the challenge of on-form rival Roger Hayden and secured his 27th career premier-class pole position on Saturday at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
While National Guard Jordan Suzuki pilot Hayden turned the fastest lap on Friday, Hayes put the Monster Energy Yamaha YZF-R1 back on top today as the two pushed their lap times well into the 1:24s to round out an exciting day of GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing and MotoGP World Championship action.
Hayes ultimately took the pole with a fast lap of 1:24.507, 0.290 seconds stronger than the Kentuckian’s best mark of 1:24.797.
The pole is Hayes’ sixth in succession. He admitted putting in a bit of extra effort to claim this one: “We wanted to make sure we got it, so we threw two tires at it — we don’t always go that route. We went out on a used tire from a the first session, rode five or six laps, came in and got a new tire, did five or six laps and improved. We came and got another fresh tire and got in another good, solid set of laps.”
Asked if he was expecting a close race, Hayes said, “Maybe… Who knows? We’ve had a lot of close qualifyings but doing race pace for a long time is different. It’s really difficult here. It’s so easy to make a mistake that costs a lot. A couple years ago I had a little gap and made a mistake in the Corkscrew and that led into one or two more mistakes in short order and all the sudden it was a race again. Last year, I was able to have a pretty clean race. I don’t feel I’m riding as clean as I was last year, but I still have pretty good pace. I did a couple of ’24s and I haven’t seen anyone else do that.
“We’ll just have to see how it plays out.”
No other rider managed a time under the 1:25-barrier in the day’s two qualifying sessions. Hayes’ teammate, Josh Herrin, earned the final position on the front row (MotoGP’s standard three-rider-per-row grid slotting is utilized at this event) with a fast lap of 1:25.198.
Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Martin Cardenas (1:25.369) will front Row 2, ahead of Hayden’s Michael Jordan Motorsport teammate, Danny Eslick (1:25.595).
Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing’s Larry Pegram narrowly picked up the final spot on the second row, lapping just 0.041 seconds better than Taylor Knapp, who is in the midst of his best weekend yet aboard the KTM/HMC Racing RC8R.
Knapp will be joined on Row 3 by his KTM-mounted teammate, Chris Fillmore, and Team AMSOIL/Hero’s hard-charging Aaron Yates.
Hayes will look to show the huge crowd expected on Sunday exactly why he’s poised to become the first man to win four consecutive AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike titles in tomorrow’s 23-lap, 50-mile main event.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Cameron Beaubier won pole for Sunday’s AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Beaubier’s Friday time held up for the best mark as the famous Monterey fog made conditions just less than ideal. The Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha pilot extended his pole streak that has spanned the duration of the 2013 season with a time of 1:26.698 and will head the three-rider rows used for this event.
“We made a couple changes for this morning on the rear shock and it helped a little bit,” Beaubier said. “I was a little timid with all the fog and stuff. I saw Garrett [Gerloff] going fast at the end, so we put in a soft tire with a couple minutes to go and tried to better my lap time, but I was a couple tenths off or so. I felt good this morning — we’re still dialing in the bike a little bit and we’ll try again in the warm-up. But for right now, I think we’re looking good for the race.”
Garrett Gerloff earned second position for the start of the race. Gerloff was one of the few top riders able to go faster on Saturday morning and leapt to second on the charts with his lap of 1:27.524 on the other Y.E.S./Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha machine.
“We showed up here yesterday, and the bike was really good for me,” Gerloff said. “We haven’t really changed anything yesterday or today and every time I go out I figure something out on the track and get more and more comfortable. I feel really good for the race tomorrow. Hopefully I can drop some more time because I’m going to need it to keep up with Cameron.”
Jake Gagne dropped from second to third fastest in qualifying on the RoadRace Factory/Red Bull machine but essentially matched his time from Friday despite making some changes to the bike that he won’t keep for the race.
“We wanted to change some things so we made a bunch of changes this morning,” Gagne said. “This morning wasn’t very good — we were able to match the time but we’ll go back to what we had before and try something else in the warm-up if the warm-up is okay. We’re on the front row, so that’s all right.”
Jason DiSalvo was fourth on the Latus Motors Racing Triumph, saying that the nature of the circuit helps his pace as his team continues to develop the Triumph Daytona 675. DiSalvo said the flowing nature of the track helps him keep up the roll speed he needs to set good lap times.
The New Yorker will be joined on row two by Jake Lewis (Meen Motorsports) and JD Beach (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull).
Row three will consist of Dane Westby on the GEICO Motorcycle Road Race Honda, Bobby Fong on the Triumph, and James Rispoli on the National Guard Celtic Racing machine.
Joey Pascarella rounded out the top ten on his Riders Discount Triumph, making it a diverse front of the grid with five Yamahas, three Triumphs, one Suzuki and a Honda.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
The AMA Pro Motorcycle-SuperStore.com SuperSport race was a wild one, with California Superbike School/RoadracingWorld.com’s Joe Roberts emerging triumphant over RoadRace Factory’s Tomas Puerta and National Guard Celtic Racing’s Corey Alexander by just 0.117 after 16 laps.
The final lap was the wildest, with Puerta and Roberts fighting for position and Alexander right there as well. The run to the checkered flag proved to be a fantastic opening to the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix weekend, with Roberts barely able to hold off his rivals.
Roberts had dropped to third with two laps to go after making a mistake going up the hill, but passed Alexander in the corkscrew. On the last lap, he made a bold pass of Puerta in the same spot and then won the drag race to the line.
“It’s been like a dream come true to come to Laguna and win. I’ve always wanted to come here and ride and to come here and win is just amazing,” said Roberts, who begins his AMA Pro career with three wins. “It was a really, really good race. I thought I’d be able to pull away and do something like I did at Barber but the guys were really quick this weekend. It was a hard race for sure, but I put my head down. I made a little mistake so I had to make some aggressive passes to get right back to the front.”
At the end, 0.294 seconds separated the leading three riders.
Jeffrey Tigert earned fourth and had an excellent contest. Before a red flag condition caused a restart around the halfway mark, the Baby Appleseed/CM Motorsports racer ran in the lead pack and, after the restart, rose to the top of a group of six riders just off the leading trio and vying for position.
Motosport.com RSRacecraft rider Stefano Mesa was fifth, followed by Sebastiao Ferriera (BP Racing), Wyatt Farris (Jon Block Group Sports Meen Motorsports), CJ Weaver (BP Racing), and Gearzy’s Ryan Matter.
Puerta expanded his points lead after the race and now leads by 45 over Tigert heading into the Miller Motorsports Park round.