News 18 Jul 2009

AMA SBK: Hayes scores American Superbike pole at Mid-Ohio


A new name topped Friday’s Superpole qualifying session for the Honda Super Cycle Weekend presented by Dunlop Tires at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, as Josh Hayes put the No. 4 Yamaha Motor Corp. USA Yamaha R1 on pole position for the weekend’s AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited doubleheader. AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL qualifying and Superpole sessions were rained out. Starting positions for the twin Daytona SportBike races will be set by tomorrow morning’s final qualifying session.

Claiming his first career pole in American Superbike competition, Hayes turned a lap of 1:26.303 (100.133 mph) around the 2.4-mile circuit to break the string of seven consecutive poles set this season by Mat Maldin (No. 7 Rockstar/Makita/Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000). Hayes has positive history to fall back on for the weekend with three previous wins here in his last three Formula Extreme outings at the track.

“I was a little disappointed with my time I thought we could actually go faster than that,” said Hayes. “You kind of have to get into a rhythm, and I just didn’t put it together perfect by any stretch. The R1’s been pretty good this weekend. I’ve been pretty happy with it right out of the box and I’m just having fun riding and things seem to be clicking well. This is cool, it’s cool to get your first pole and I’m looking forward to going racing.”

Starting alongside Hayes will be Aaron Yates on the No. 23 Brand Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000, who ran the second-quickest lap of Superpole at 1:26.469 (99.921 mph). Yates has three American Superbike wins to his credit at Mid-Ohio, his last two coming in a doubleheader sweep in 2000.

“My lap, it was pretty decent, nothing really too eventful,” said Yates. “The bike was hooked up pretty well, just a little cautious, especially around the top of the keyhole, you are on the side of your tires so long. I got around pretty good.”

Geoff May qualified third on the No. 54 National Guard Jordan Suzuki GSX-R100 with a lap at 1:26.564 (99.810 mph). Both May and teammate Yates have finished on the podium three times this season and are in search of their first win of the year this weekend.

“We needed to kind of scope out the track after all of that rain (earlier in the day), it definitely changes this place and the grip level and the patches (in the asphalt),” said May. “It looks like everybody was way off the pace and you go out there on new stuff and think ‘is it going to stick or not going to stick,’ so I was a little tentative in the first split. Then I realized I was better than I thought I was and put the hammer down, put my head down for the second half of the track to try to make up time best I could. I really didn’t make any mistakes except for just going to slow in the first sector.”

The final spot on the front row belongs to Tommy Hayden with a time of 1:26.741 (99.607 mph) aboard the No. 22 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000. Hayden is currently second in the point standings and looking to gain ground on Mladin, who leads him 355-228. Points leader Mladin starts from ninth with a time of 1:27.457 (98.792 mph).

“The lap seemed alright,” said Hayden. “The bike has been pretty good since I’ve gotten here, faster than it was in the tests straight away. So far today everything’s been going pretty smooth, I feel pretty solid out there.”

The first American Superbike race of the Honda Super Cycle Weekend rolls off from a standing start at 3:00 p.m. local time Saturday afternoon with a scheduled distance of 21 laps (50 miles). Sunday’s race is also scheduled for 21 laps (50 miles) and has a 4:00 p.m. local start time.

Rain Washes out Friday Daytona SportBike Qualifying
An afternoon rain shower put a damper on AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL basic qualifying. The time-certain schedule, combined with the time needed for the track to dry, did not allow for an opportunity to reschedule the basic qualifying or Superpole sessions. Saturday morning’s final qualifying session will set the grid for the weekend’s twin Daytona SportBike races.

Graves Motorsports’ Tommy Aquino paced the morning’s practice session on the No. 6 Yamaha YZF-R6 with a lap time of 1:28.587 (97.531 mph). Danny Eslick posted the second fastest time of 1:28.720 (97.385 mph) aboard the No. 9 Rossmeyer GEICO Powersports RMR Buell 1125R.

The first Daytona SportBike race will close Saturday’s schedule at 4 p.m. local time. The Sunday final is the first of three races that day and will start at 2 p.m. Like American Superbike, both Daytona SportBike races are 21 laps for 50 miles.

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