Hayes Closes Out 2013 Pole Sweep At Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
NEWS September 28, 2013
Photo by Brian J Nelson
MONTEREY, Calif. (September 28, 2013) - Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha's Josh Hayes completed his perfect season sweep of AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike pole positions Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. However, despite securing his eighth pole in as many attempts -- and now in search of his eighth win of 2013 in Sunday's season finale -- it's actually teammate Josh Herrin who stands as the man in command.
Hayes earned his final pole based on the strength of his Friday time of 1:24.249, but also led the way in Saturday's second qualifying session with a similarly quick lap of 1:24.328. The defending triple champion will be joined on tomorrow’s FIM-style three-man front row, as utilized by the FIM Superbike World Championship, by his fellow title contenders, points leader Herrin and Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing's Martin Cardenas.
Herrin rebounded from his Friday fall in impressive fashion, laying down a pair of '24s late to leap up from fifth and eclipse Cardenas to claim the center position on Row 1. Hayes' pole keeps the pre-weekend title scenario static entering Sunday's race -- Herrin needs to finish just tenth or better in order to secure the first GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing title of his career.
Herrin, who qualified second at 1:24.672, said, "We have a good race pace, and I'm really looking forward to the race. Yesterday, I made a dumb mistake and crashed in Turn 3. It was just a little lowside but it did a lot of damage to the bike. So the guys built a new one from the ground up last night and it ended up being even better than the one I was on yesterday. Hats off to them for staying late and getting that done.
"I'm ready for tomorrow; hopefully, we can stay out of harm's way and wrap up the title."
Saturday's times were generally a tick slower than those established in Friday’s qualifying session. The riders attributed that to the fact that Dunlop elected not to make their newest evolution spec tires, which were introduced on Friday, available for Sunday's race. The new rubber was praised for its feel and speed but was ultimately deemed not yet ready for usage at full race distance around Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. As a result, a number of riders struggled to match their qualifying 1 pace as they scrambled to adjust and dial in their race set-ups to best suit the available options.
Hayes didn't seem overly fazed by the decision. He said, "They did still allow us to use that tire in qualifying today, but I actually did my best string and my best laps there at the end on the race tire. The tires are honestly the same other than at very full leans, such as around Turn 2. Just one has a bit more stability and grip than the other at full lean, otherwise, it doesn't affect me too much. Fortunately, with my riding style, I get off the edge of the tire as quick as I can so it didn't have a huge effect on me as far as lap times go."
Cardenas and fourth-place qualifier Chris Fillmore on the HMC Racing KTM RC8R had more difficulty adapting to the shift in tire selection.
Colombian Cardenas, who was the last man in the '24s at 1:24.694, explained, "I started yesterday on the new tire Dunlop brought and everything was working good. We were pretty fast yesterday, close to Josh [Hayes]. But we don't have that tire for the race, and we tried the one we have for the race -- the soft one. The bike seemed to behave not the way I wanted it to -- it chattered a lot. We'll have to work on that a little bit and find a better setup for the race and hope for the best."
Fillmore echoed Cardenas' sentiment, stating, "Dunlop brought a new tire this weekend, and we put it on the bike and it immediately calmed the whole bike down. It's kind of what we were looking for. We made a few changes from the last two races since we were last here, and I think we're making the right progress with the bike. And, with the new tires, it was magic. Unfortunately, they're taking all of those back and that kind of throws a wrench into the race. But, it's the same for everybody, and hopefully we can run like we did the last time we were here and be consistent. Right now, I'm still trying to decide what my race tire will be between the hard and the soft."
Lining up alongside Fillmore on the second row will be Team Hero EBR's Geoff May and Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing's Larry Pegram. Pegram was among the few front-runners to improve his pace on Saturday, lapping at 1:25.482, but it wasn't quite enough to move ahead of the Friday times of Fillmore (1:25.192) or May (1:25.248).
Row 3 will feature Fillmore's KTM teammate, Taylor Knapp, Motosport.com Motul Fly Racing's David Anthony, and second Yosh entry Chris Clark. The fourth row will boast plenty of experience with Team AMSOIL/Hero's Aaron Yates heading Motosport.com/EBR II's Cory West and M4 Broaster Chicken Racing's Chris Ulrich.
The 2013 AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike season finale will get underway Sunday morning at 10:40 a.m. local time. 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 http://www.amaprolive.com/rr/.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Cameron Beaubier won pole for the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike class on Saturday afternoon at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, but his crash late in the session put his win streak in doubt. Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha’s Beaubier crashed in Turn 3 in front of Meen Motorsports’ Jake Lewis, who said he lost the front and fell with just a few minutes to go. He still held the fastest time, but after winning 10 races in a row, the Californian will be sore for tomorrow’s season finale.
“It was weird. As soon as I touched the brakes going into Turn 3, I lost the front,” said Beaubier. “I didn’t even have any time to react. Before I knew it, I was on the ground. I’m not sure how I banged my knee, but I did tumble a lot going through the gravel… I don’t really know how I hurt my knee and ankle. I definitely took a pretty good tumble, though. I may meet up with (my orthopedist) Dr. Bryan tonight to have the injuries evaluated. But, right now, my plan is to race tomorrow.”
Lewis earned the next spot on the special three-rider-wide grid and continued the good form he’s showed at the last few races.
“We put on a new tire with about 15 minutes to go,” Lewis said. “It was good to get down in the 1:26’s. I’ve been gaining a lot of confidence and carrying the momentum from New Jersey.”
Garrett Gerloff was third, having made it a front-row qualifying effort for the factory Yamaha squad once again.
“We worked on our race setup during the session,” Gerloff said. “I think we have something really good for tomorrow.”
Dane Westby (GEICO Motorcycle Racing) held second for much of the session before ending in the fourth spot. He’ll start alongside RoadRace Factory/Red Bull’s JD Beach and Bobby Fong, the D&D Cycles/Castrol/Triumph pilot hot on the heels of his podium finish in New Jersey.
Row three will see a trio of triumphs, with Jason DiSalvo (Latus Motors Racing) leading Riders Discount Racing Triumph’s pair of former DAYTONA 200 winners, Joey Pascarella and Jake Zemke.
Sunday’s 20-lap AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike season finale will kick off the day’s racing activities with a scheduled green flag time of 9:30 a.m. local time.
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 http://www.amaprolive.com/rr/.
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/.
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