Close Shave at Barber: Josh Hayes Tops Martin Cardenas and Roger Hayden in Provisional AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Qualifying
NEWS June 21, 2013
Photo by Brian J Nelson
BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (June 21, 2013) - Friday's AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike provisional qualifying for the Triumph SuperBike Classic presented by America's First Federal Credit Union may have delivered a familiar result, but a closer inspection shows how fragile the status quo could be this weekend at Barber Motorsports Park.
Monster Energy Graves Yamaha's Josh Hayes boasts an unblemished qualifying session record so far this GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing season and he extended that streak today. However, he did so narrowly, lapping just 0.095 and 0.137 seconds quicker than Martin Cardenas (Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing) and Roger Hayden (National Guard Jordan Suzuki), respectively.
Moreover, earlier in the day, Hayden actually snapped Hayes' run of topping every National Guard SuperBike practice session by setting the pace in the Friday free practice.
Still fighting his way back from the championship deficit that resulted from a pair of Daytona DNFs, Hayes could brighten his prospects for a record-setting fourth consecutive National Guard SuperBike title considerably with another perfect points haul weekend. However, the form of title leader Cardenas, Hayden, and others suggest that the Mississippian is going to have to work for it this weekend.
Hayes' best lap of 1:25.889 was a touch slower than his provisional time of a year ago (1:25.696). The champ expects to improve on Saturday and has proven time-and-time again his ability to maintain his pace for the entire race distance, which frequently proves the decisive factor, especially at hot and physical circuits like Barber Motorsports Park.
"It was, I guess, a better session than I expected,” Hayes admitted. "With the added heat of the afternoon, I thought it would be pretty tough for us to get into the '25s. To get one in the books is pretty good… I was a little surprised I was fastest today; I didn't feel I was getting around the racetrack all that well. I just found a good spot on the racetrack and got in some good, clean laps with a little bit of a carrot in front of me. I'm glad I was able to put it together -- Rog, Martin, and Larry (Pegram) are all riding pretty well. I thought today would be one of their days and we'd focus more on racing."
He continued, "I feel pretty good with what we have to race with. I'm going to see if we can make a few improvements and see if we can make the bike easier to ride without sacrificing the speed that we have. I don't know that we're necessarily looking for a lot more speed -- we'll see if we can just make it easier to wrestle around here for 21 laps. Things look really close right now; race distance could be a little bit different -- these things get to be a handful at this racetrack. We'll just see how it plays out."
Title leader Cardenas continues to grow stronger with each successive ride of his Yoshimura-tuned Suzuki GSX-R1000. The Colombian's mastery of the Alabama venue is well established, as Cardenas boasts a pair of support class double wins to his name at BMP and celebrated his first-career premier class triumph here two years ago. Like Hayes, Cardenas managed to dip into the '25s in Friday's blistering hot conditions with a 1:25.984.
Hayden's strong Friday is a promising sign for the Kentuckian, who fully expects to be battling for podiums and race wins on a regular basis. The Michael Jordan Motorsports pilot's season has been somewhat uneven to date, but he has the potential to be a factor from here on out, as demonstrated by his class-leading time in free practice (1:26.046) and third-best lap in qualifying (1:26.026).
Hayden is joined on the provisional front row by his Michael Jordan Motorsports teammate, Danny Eslick. The Jordan Suzuki pilot was fourth on the day with a best time of 1:26.851.
Meanwhile, Hayes' Monster Energy Graves Yamaha teammate, Josh Herrin, was fifth at 1:27.296. Herrin frequently takes his time to build up to speed and should not be discounted heading into tomorrow's action, particularly after his '12 BMP performance in which he leaped up the charts to qualify and finish second on Saturday.
Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing's Larry Pegram, KTM/HMC Racing's Chris Fillmore, and Motosport.com Motul Fly Racing David Anthony complete the provisional second row.
The final grid positions will be decided Saturday morning ahead of the afternoon's 21-lap National Guard SuperBike contest.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Cameron Beaubier earned provisional pole in the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike class at Barber Motorsports Park on Friday. Last year’s double winner broke the track record he set a year ago on his Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha R6, topping Alabama resident Jason DiSalvo on the Latus Motors Triumph Daytona 675R.
With two wins and a second place finish so far in 2013, Beaubier looks to continue his string of success. “We’re working on bike setup more this weekend,” said Beaubier. “At Road America, we had a decent gap at the beginning so we didn’t change anything and I just rode the bike. Here, you have to fine tune things.”
Class rookie James Rispoli of the National Guard/Celtic Racing squad was third fastest in qualifying, backing up his strong second-place standing in the morning free practice.
Elkhart Lake winner Jake Gagne, who led the opening moments of qualifying, ended up fourth on his Road Race Factory/Red Bull Yamaha R6.
Y.E.S/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha’s Garret Gerloff leads the provisional second row. Dane Westby (GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing) was sixth as he continues to come back from his Daytona injury. Former Daytona 200 winner Joey Pascarella of the Riders Discount Riders Discount Racing Triumph was credited with the same qualifying time as Westby while JD Beach was eighth on the second RoadRace Factory/Red Bull machine.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
It was a SuperSport surprise, with Joe Roberts taking provisional pole in his first-ever AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race. Roberts, who normally races in the Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, recently turned 16 and the Californian is now eligible for AMA Pro competition as well.
Roberts made a splash in his debut at Barber Motorsports Park on board his California Superbike School RoadracingWorld.com Racing Honda CBR600RR, earning the fastest time in practice before taking qualifying by storm. Roberts set his best time of 1:29.443 to earn overnight pole against one of the biggest fields of the year.
“Since it’s my first AMA Pro race, I didn’t know about the competition,” said Roberts. “In the first free practice, I was pretty stoked to be first. I don’t know about surprised, because I always go into a practice or a qualifying or a race hoping to win.”
Series regular Hayden Gillim was second on the Team 95 bike, joined on the overnight front row by regular series contenders Corey Alexander (National Guard/Celtic Racing) and Tomas Puerta (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull.)
Miles Thornton showed speed on Friday and the CTR Racing rider leads row two. He’s joined by Gearzy’s Ryan Matter, TOBC Racing’s Nick McFadden and Harv's Harley-Davidson’s Travis Wyman.
In addition to the live broadcasts on CBS Sports Network, AMA Pro Live will be live streaming multiple channels of behind-the-scenes video of the weekend's activities alongside Live Timing & Scoring. AMA Pro Live puts fans in the director's chair, allowing them to choose from a variety of viewpoints including track cameras, paddock cameras and a press conference channel at http://www.amaprolive.com.
About GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing:
GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing is the premier motorcycle road racing series in North America and is universally regarded as one of the most competitive road racing organizations in the world. The 2013 schedule consists of nine rounds of competition on the country's finest road courses. The Series is comprised of four production-based classes: AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike, AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike, AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport and the AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series. Learn more about GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing at www.amaproracing.com/rr/.