Sep 27, 2013
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by David Swarts
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GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro National Guard Superbike Championship: Josh Hayes (1). Photo by Brian J. Nelson.
Three-time and defending AMA Pro National Guard Superbike Champion Josh Hayes topped provisional qualifying Friday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca with a lap time of 1:24.249 on his Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1.
Not only was Hayes’ time faster than anyone else’s time, it was faster than his pole position-winning time of 1:24.507 from the AMA Pro event at Laguna Seca in July and it was also faster than any of the Superbike World Championship riders could manage on the undulating 2.2-mile road course.
“Right now I’m kind of re-acclimating to my bike after spending quite a bit of time on a different [Yamaha during the 24 Hours of Le Mans] in France,” Hayes told reporters. “I definitely missed my weapon here and I’m glad to be back on it, but it definitely has a different feel. It took me a little while this morning to kind of come to grips with everything. This bike just turns so good and does a lot of things really well. Get my feel back for the Dunlops. Things are clicking along. I think we’re going fast pretty early. It took us a while to get going and a good pace at the GP weekend. If we can continue to improve I’ll be really excited, but I think that’s a big ask.”
Asked if he had paid any attention to or made comparisons to the lap times turned by the World Superbike riders, Hayes said, “I watched the first [World Superbike] session. I was a little surprised, actually. I think Rog [Hayden] and Danny [Eslick] both got up to speed fairly quickly. Quite honestly, I was a little surprised. I thought the World Superbike guys would overtake them a little bit sooner and be further ahead.
“[Pirelli] probably don’t have much data to go off of. It will be interesting to see how it goes. I still have my predictions, especially Superpole. I expect to see these guys in the 1:23s, and I don’t know that we can go quite that fast.
“Danny said the [World Superbike] bikes are a little bit faster, but for the most part those guys are still learning their way around. It’ll be interesting to see as the weekend goes on how it all plays out. It’s kind of fun having a feather in your cap that you’re faster than them in the first session. That’s something that I never got at Miller [Motorsports Park]. I was fairly close to their race times, but that was about it.”
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas, who considers Laguna Seca one of his favorite tracks, was at the top of the order with 10 minutes to go in qualifying, but Hayes eclipsed Cardenas’ time of 1:24.694 and demoted him to second.
KTM/HMC Racing’s Chris Fillmore made a late jump up to third, the final spot on the provisional, FIM-spec front row, with a time of 1:25.192 on his factory RC8R.
Fillmore beat out Team HERO’s Geoff May (1:25.248) and his EBR 1190RS for top V-Twin honors. May was fourth-quickest.
Championship point leader Josh Herrin (1:25.257) crashed his Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1 late in the session. Herrin said he slowed down trying to get some clear racetrack and his tires cooled off too much by the time he started to push again. He slid off the lowside in Turn Three, suffered no injury and later laughed about the incident – his first crash of the season. He ended up fifth at the end of the session.
Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing’s Larry Pegram was sixth-fastest with a 1:25.714 on his factory-spec Yamaha YZF-R1.
Motosport.com/Motul/Fly Racing’s David Anthony (1:25.801), Fillmore’s teammate Taylor Knapp (1:26.058), RSRacecraft EBR’s Cory West (1:26.131) and Team AMSOIL/Hero EBR’s Aaron Yates (1:26.435) rounded out the top 10 qualifiers in the field of 19.
GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing
AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
September 27, 2013
Provisional Qualifying Session One Results (all on Dunlop tires):
1. Josh Hayes (Yam YZF-R1), 1:24.249
2. Martin Cardenas (Suz GSX-R1000), 1:24.694
3. Chris Fillmore (KTM RC8R), 1:25.192
4. Geoff May (EBR 1190RS), 1:25.248
5. Josh Herrin (Yam YZF-R1), 1:25.257, crash
6. Larry Pegram (Yam YZF-R1), 1:25.714
7. David Anthony (Suz GSX-R1000), 1:25.801
8. Taylor Knapp (KTM RC8R), 1:26.058
9. Cory West (EBR 1190RS), 1:26.131
10. Aaron Yates (EBR 1190RS), 1:26.435
11. Chris Clark (Suz GSX-R1000), 1:26.675
12. Chris Ulrich (Hon CBR1000RR), 1:27.744
13. Trent Gibson (Suz GSX-R1000), 1:29.141
14. Mathew Orange (BMW S1000RR), 1:29.929
15. Johnny Rock Page (Suz GSX-R1000), 1:30.058
16. Kevin Pinkstaff (Kaw ZX-10R), 1:30.658
17. Aaron Ascher (Kaw ZX-10R), 1:30.774
18. Scott Tillery (Kaw ZX-10R), 1:31.820
19. Tony Porter (Kaw ZX-10R), 1:33.222
More, from a press release issued by Yamaha:
Hayes Earns Provisional SuperBike Pole For Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca; Teammate Herrin Is Fifth
Monterey, CA - September 27, 2013 – In Friday’s provisional qualifying at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, three-time defending AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Champion Josh Hayes was the fastest rider on the track, and he was also notably nearly a full second faster than any of the World Superbike riders in their first free practice session of the weekend.
Championship points leader and Hayes’ teammate Josh Herrin qualified provisionally in fifth position. His session was cut short when he tucked the front of his #2 Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha YZF-R1 in Laguna Seca’s turn 3 and slid off the track unhurt.
After the opening qualifying session, Hayes said, “It was a pretty typical qualifying session, I think. I’m trying to be steady and keep feeling fresh. I’m looking to keep building toward Sunday’s race. After racing (an R1 for the Yamaha Austria Racing Team) at LeMans (in the 24-hour endurance race) last weekend, it took me a few laps to get acclimated to my Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha R1 and the Dunlop tires again, but I’m happy to be back on my SuperBike.”
Commenting on his tipover, Herrin said, “I’m really mad at myself because that’s the first time I’ve fallen all year. There were about 10 minutes left to go in the session, and I hadn’t really started clicking off fast laps. I’m glad we’ve got another qualifying session tomorrow.”
Tomorrow afternoon’s final SuperBike qualifying at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will begin at 12:40 AM PT, and Sunday morning’s SuperBike race will go green at 10:40 AM PT.
For more news, results, and other team info, be sure to check out Yamaha’s Facebook page and follow us on Twitter @YamahaMotorUSA.
More, from a press release issued by Geiger Media on behalf of AMSOIL:
May puts AMSOIL EBR in position
for front-row start at Laguna
MONTEREY, Calif. (Sept. 27) - Geoff May put the Team Hero/AMSOIL EBR on the provisional National Guard SuperBike front row on Friday in GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Series racing at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
May turned a best lap of one minute, 25.248 seconds to claim the No. 4 position on the grid with one more qualifying session to go on Saturday.
"We figured some stuff out during the break we had," May said. "We found some speed in New Jersey, but unfortunately we tore the tire up."
Now that his EBR is hugging the track, May said everything has come together.
"That grip has been the main thing we've been lacking the whole year," he said. "We found it, had some problems in Jersey, but we went back to the drawing board. We decided to show up in Laguna with our known good setup from last year that we can pair this new grip characteristic we've been looking for.
"Laguna is not typically hard on tires, so we decided to pray it doesn't tear the tire up."
This combination of new and old has worked to near perfection.
"So far the tire is lasting," May said. "I did a good 15-lap run and my laps didn't vary over the course of the run. We're looking for a race run and keeping a spot on the front row."
The positive turn of events has the whole AMSOIL EBR crew charged up.
"With some riders having to play it safe to secure the championship that could open up a spot on the podium," May said. "I think you are going to see a good fight for it. If I get lucky and we really get the bike right, maybe there won't be a fight for it. I'll just take off with the leaders, put on a good show, and bring home a podium for EBR, AMSOIL, and Hero."
May's teammate Aaron Yates had electrical issues with his primary AMSOIL/Hero EBR during qualifying and had to switch to a backup. That secondary bike didn't have the same kind of setup like his main bike, and he wound up qualifying 10th with a best lap of 1:26.435.
"We went quicker this morning (in practice) than we had the last time we were here," May said. "That was real encouraging for us. We just ran into a little issue with my 'A' bike. It was steering better and turning better. I was getting through the corners a lot better and getting on the gas a lot sooner.
"Then it started running funky. Something might have happened with the plug or something. We switched to my 'B' bike. It's quite a bit different. I spent the rest of the session getting comfortable on it."
The team will make repairs on the primary EBR and hope to improve their spot on the grid during final qualifying.
"We'll get things straightened out," Yates said. "We need to get down there and go a second a lap faster to be where we want to be. We'll make it happen."
Qualifying resumes at 12:40 p.m. PDT on Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Sunday's race rolls off at 10:40 a.m.
More, from a press release issued by AMA Pro Racing:
Stayin' Alive: Hayes Fastest In Qualifying While Championship Leader Herrin Crashes At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
MONTEREY, Calif. (September 27, 2013) - Despite maintaining a position of consistent dominance over the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike field in 2013, defending three-time series champion Josh Hayes enters this weekend's GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing season finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca facing long odds in his hopes to top Josh Herrin and collect an unprecedented fourth-consecutive premier-class title.
Twenty-two points out of first with just Sunday's single race to go, Hayes needs a lot of help if he's to somehow retain his crown. Hayes performed in fine fashion on Friday, securing the provisional pole with a blistering time of 1:24.249.
Hayes not only led the way in the National Guard SuperBike class, he even outpaced the superstars of the FIM Superbike World Championship in their respective first practice and first qualifying sessions despite the national championship's considerably tighter technical rules.
With the pressure of the championship fight largely removed from his shoulders, Hayes rode fast and loose, acclimating to his Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha YZF-R1 after guesting aboard a World Endurance-spec R1 at Le Mans last weekend.
After qualifying, Hayes said, "I've just tried to be steady and roll around the racetrack and keep myself feeling good and fresh because I know I'll be fastest on Sunday. I'll keep working at it."
Meanwhile, Hayes' title-leading teammate, Josh Herrin, was perhaps feeling the additional pressure that has now been shifted firmly in his direction. Herrin, who has done a fantastic job of consistently maximizing his opportunities, suffered his very first crash of the season today in qualifying, tipping over in Turn 3 with around 10 minutes remaining.
As a result, Herrin was pushed down from third at the time (1:25.257) to the provisional second row in fifth, trailing not only Hayes, but also Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing's title hopeful, Martin Cardenas (1:24.694), KTM/HMC Racing's Chris Fillmore (1:25.192), and Team Hero EBR's Geoff May (1:25.248).
Despite Herrin's Friday fall, Hayes, who needs his teammate/rival to finish outside the top 10 to even have a chance at the title, claims that he considers the championship effectively out of reach at this point.
"In my mind, the championship is over," Hayes admitted. "I don't have that in my mind while I'm riding around the racetrack. The only way...if something went wrong (for Herrin), it would be the most bittersweet of emotions."
Hayes has racked up seven victories this season, but he finds himself the dark horse this weekend due to an odd combination of mistakes and misfortune, not the least of which are his three jump-start infractions. The Mississippian worked overtime on Friday in an attempt to overhaul his starting technique to ensure that he does not suffer the same fate for a fourth time in 2013.
He explained, "That's what I spent most of qualifying working on. It's funny -- I can win SuperBike races, and I can win SuperBike championships, but I can't start with my foot on the rear brake. I can't get the timing right, I can't get the clutch right. I'm out there -- I just did three starts during the qualifying session so I could practice and try to figure out how to do this so this is not an issue for us again in the future. I'm trying to eliminate the problem, and I'll keep working at it the best that I can."
While mathematically out of the championship picture, a number of riders are hoping to leave a strong impression with an outstanding finale this weekend. The aforementioned Fillmore and May are off to quick starts at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, as are Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing's Larry Pegram (sixth, 1:25.714) and Motosport.com Motul Fly Racing's David Anthony, who ranked near the top of the charts during the first half of the session before winding up seventh (1:25.801).
Fillmore's KTM teammate, Taylor Knapp, finished the day in eighth, while the EBR 1190RS-mounted duo of Cory West (Motosport.com/EBR II) and Aaron Yates (Team AMSOIL/Hero) concluded the Friday top 10.
The final grid for Sunday's 2013 AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike finale will be set following final qualifying, scheduled to begin Saturday afternoon at 12:40 p.m. local time.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
With nine straight AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike wins to his credit, Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha's Cameron Beaubier was fastest on Friday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Beaubier opened the weekend by setting a new circuit class record, something he'd done at the past six tracks this year in a championship season bulging with accomplishments and accolades.
"It's important to me to win this race," said Beaubier after setting a best mark of 1:26.516. "I want to win this as bad as the other ones. It's good to come into the race with no pressure (from the championship) and be able to run as fast as I can."
Beaubier lives three hours away and said he wanted to improve from when the series raced at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca earlier this summer. "I wanted to come here and better my laps. I think it was a little warmer than when we were here (in July) for the GP," he said. "The first session today was important because our race is early Sunday morning."
Beaubier bettered his teammate Garrett Gerloff, who is battling the injured Jake Gagne for second in the points. Gerloff trails by 19 and Gagne rode in the afternoon after skipping the morning session. RoadRace Factory/Red Bull's JD Beach was third ahead of another strong performer in July's race at the circuit, Latus Motors Racing's Jason DiSalvo.
On provisional row two, Jake Lewis (Meen Motorsports) impressed once again. The Kentuckian, who is in a showdown with National Guard/Celtic Racing's James Rispoli for top rookie, held off D&D Cycles/Castrol/Triumph's Bobby Fong, GEICO Motorcycle's Dane Westby, and Riders Discount Racing Triumph's Jake Zemke.
Final qualifying is scheduled for Saturday at 3:25 p.m. local time and will determine the running order for Sunday's 20 lap GoPro Daytona SportBike finale.
AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series
AMA Pro Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series title leader Steve Rapp carried his stellar form into Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The Californian claimed the provisional pole position on the eve of the race he hopes will reward him with not only with a triumph in the XR Showdown, but also the first championship of his GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing career.
The Aerostar Global/Suburban Harley-Davison ace posted a 1:35.754 on his final lap to move into first place for the day. Title rival Tyler O'Hara (Eco Fuel Saver/Scrubblade) responded with a fast lap of his own, but ultimately fell 0.150 seconds short of overtaking Rapp.
Outgoing champ Michael Barnes (Spyke's Harley-Davidson) was third on Friday, followed by a pair of riders from outside the XR Showdown -- Hayden Schultz (Kyle Wyman Racing) and Gage McAllister (Folsom Harley-Davidson).
Rapp's teammate, Ben Carlson, and Thrashed Bike Racing's David Estok were sixth and seventh fastest, respectively, while second-ranked Travis Wyman (Harv's Harley-Davidson) rounded out the provisional second row.
"I feel really comfortable," Rapp said. "The track feels good, and I feel good."
Asked if he's finally feeling the pressure of a championship as he nears the conclusion of what he's repeatedly referred to as a relaxed season, Rapp said, "At times, I do. When I'm on the bike, I feel the same as always, but when we're sitting around and everyone is talking about this and that, a little bit. I'm pretty mellow at this point. It's really important to me, but I can't control everything. I feel like I'm riding good and the bike's good. Whatever happens beyond that is out of my control."
Despite his big 22-point advantage, don't expect Rapp to cruise in tomorrow's finale. He explained, "I feel like I'm better off trying to get a good start, get out, and get some clear track. If there's people with me, we'll sort it out. But if I ride back there with people I'm not used to riding with, it could get ugly. I can do the lap times comfortably, so I'm going to get out there and get some clear track."
Final qualifying for the Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series will begin Saturday at 9:45 a.m. local time, with the 11 lap race to determine the winner of the XR Showdown scheduled that afternoon at 4:17 p.m.
How to Follow the Action
Live timing and scoring with play-by-play commentary will be available for all of this weekend's GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing sessions on AMA Pro Live. Log on and tune in at
Stay connected with GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing on social media at and .
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 .
AMA Pro Racing is the premier professional motorcycle racing organization in North America, operating a full schedule of events and championships for a variety of motorcycle disciplines. Learn more about AMA Pro Racing at .