The Devil Made Him Do It: Josh Hayes On AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Provisional Pole Despite Crash On Friday at New Jersey Motorsports Park
NEWS September 13, 2013
Photo by Brian J Nelson
MILLVILLE, N.J. (September 13, 2013) - Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha's Josh Hayes is attempting to make GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing history by becoming the first rider to claim four consecutive AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike titles.
An outstanding performance in this weekend's New Jersey Lottery Devil's Showdown doubleheader is absolutely crucial towards those aims as Hayes -- who is currently ranked third, 16 points back of the title lead -- needs to conclude the season in nearly perfect fashion to ensure that he accomplishes that monumental achievement.
Fortunately for Hayes, he's been pretty much unbeatable at New Jersey Motorsports Park as long as the track has been on the schedule. He's scored seven of the eight National Guard SuperBike wins at the venue prior to this year's visit with the sole exception being a clutch runner-up ride in the 2011 season finale to lock down a narrow championship victory.
The Mississippian provided further evidence of his NJMP mastery today, pacing the opening free practice by well over a second and then establishing a new lap record in qualifying. Hayes broke the three-year-old mark of one-time archrival Tommy Hayden, slicing under the Kentuckian's existing time of 1:20.624 with a quick lap of 1:20.536 on Friday afternoon.
But the day ended with a tough break for Hayes, who crashed in turn two on the last lap of qualifying. Hayes was fine, although his motorcycle needed some attention.
After the session, Hayes said, "For the most part, it's been a pretty good day. Things have clicked off well; the first session was pretty fast compared to last year, and it feels like everything is pretty much heading in the right direction and I'm having fun riding the motorcycle."
Hayes then described his record lap, stating, "I felt like I had pretty good grip all the way around the racetrack. I had fresh tires and everything happened like it's supposed to. There wasn't anything spectacular about it. The area I got over better than I expected was Turn 2, and the rest of it I just felt like I put my best pieces together. I did it smooth, no mistakes, hit my marks, and put in a pretty clean lap."
Asked to explain his NJMP expertise, Hayes admitted, "To be honest, I don't know why. I don't feel like I'm particularly good at any one part of the racetrack. I feel like my best section is getting on the front straightaway, which I guess is the fastest turn on the track, so I guess if you get that right it usually pays some dividends in your favor a little bit, but it's not like I've made passes between there and the finish line to get the wins. Typically, I've been able to have a pretty good pace. I really don't know what it is -- it just seems to suit me well."
Title leader Josh Herrin was second best on the day, circulating at 1:21.192, just a tick less than seven tenths back of Hayes. The Monster Energy Graves Yamaha rider has a history of slow starts on Fridays but tends to pick up pace as the weekend progresses. Friday's P2 start represents a promising opening day for the championship hopeful despite the healthy gap separating first from second.
Meanwhile, the current points race runner-up, Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing's Martin Cardenas, put the three primary title contenders in the top three today with a best time of 1:21.463. The Colombian actually held down the top spot for an extended period during the middle of Friday's qualifying session before the Yamaha runners stepped up their pace late.
National Guard Jordan Suzuki's Roger Hayden and his Michael Jordan Motorsports teammate, Danny Eslick, rounded out the provisional top five. Hayden was just .054 seconds back of Cardenas at 1:21.517 and stood as the last man on the lead second. Eslick wasn't too far removed from that mark, just 1.242 seconds off Hayes' record pace with a time of 1:21.778.
Team Hero EBR's Geoff May was relegated to sixth in the late shuffle but factored heavily during the session. The Georgia native ranked near the top of the charts deep into qualifying and wound up just another tenth in arrears at 1:21.882.
Eslick and May are joined on the provisional second row by KTM/HMC Racing teammates Chris Fillmore (1:22.178) and Taylor Knapp (1:22.433), while Motosport.com Motul Fly Racing's David Anthony (1:22.584) and Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing's Larry Pegram (1:22.678) complete the Friday top ten.
On Saturday, Hayes will attempt to extend his season-long run of pole positions ahead of the afternoon's critical 23-lap National Guard SuperBike contest.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Cameron Beaubier broke the New Jersey Motorsports Park lap record on the way to provisional pole in AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike on Friday. The Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy.Graves/Yamaha pilot could clinch the series championship tomorrow after winning nine races in 2013, but he is more concerned with going fast after his first crash of the season slowed him in the first session.
"Towards the end of practice, we went out with five minutes to go and the second lap I crashed in the second corner, which was a bummer," sad Beaubier. "My team did an awesome job fixing my 'A bike' so that was really cool. I put in some really good laps and felt really consistent. I did some low '22s, which I was really happy about. We found a good setting with the soft tire. I'm not sure how it's going to work out tomorrow -- I think the temp is going to be a little cooler so I don't think we're going to be able to run that for the race."
Beaubier's teammate Garrett Gerloff was second, having led late. Gerloff, a Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport winner at New Jersey, topped Meen Motorsports' Jake Lewis and Bobby Fong of D&D Cycles/Castrol/Triumph.
Provisional row two consists of RoadRace Factory/Red Bull's Jake Gagne, National Guard Celtic Racing's James Rispoli, JD Beach on the second RoadRace Factory/Red Bull Yamaha, and former DAYTONA 200 winner Joey Pascarella on the Riders Discount Racing Triumph.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
National Guard Celtic Racing's Corey Alexander got off to a great start in defending his AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport East points lead as he was quickest in the opening qualifying practice. The Californian topped recently crowned 2013 Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport West and Overall National champ Tomas Puerta (RoadRace Factory) in the final minutes.
"I think this will be a good weekend for us. We'll give it all we've got for the championship; it's me and Hayden (Gillim) and there's a few other guys I'm a little bit worried about but mostly just Hayden," said Alexander. "As for the race, we'll just see what happens. SuperSport is so unpredictable, you really don't know what's going to happen -- who's going to crash, what bike is going to break. Hopefully our stuff is good, our stuff is set and don't have any more mechanicals like Miller."
Gillim was third on his Team 95 Yamaha, bettering fellow championship hopeful Stefano Mesa (Motosport.com RSRacecraft).
Veteran Jeffrey Tigert (Baby Appleseed CM Motorsports) heads provisional row two, with young rider Travis Wyman (Harv's H-D) and fast local rider Alex Shaw (Mob Racing) close on his tail. TOBC pilot Nick McFadden was eighth.
For tickets to GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing's Round 8 at New Jersey Motorsports Park on September 13-15, 2013, please visit http://store.njmp.com/store/category/9/69/AMA-SUPERBIKE/ or call 856-327-8000.
How to Catch the Action
This weekend's GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing action will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network as part of the CBS Sports Spectacular. This weekend's coverage consists of four straight hours of programming on September 15, including LIVE broadcasts of Sunday's AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike and GoPro Daytona SportBike finals. The four-hour block will begin on Sunday, September 15 at 1:00 p.m. ET/10:00 a.m. PT. Fans can find CBS Sports Network on their TV by using the channel finder at http://www.cbssportsnetwork.com/channel-finder.
In addition to the race 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/rr/.
Stay connected with GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing on social media at http://twitter.com/AMAProSBK and http://www.facebook.com/AMAProRoadRacing.
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/.