AMA Pro Racing
The penultimate round of AMA Superbike occurs this weekend at New Jersey Motorsports Park, with a heated battle at top between Josh Hayes and Tommy Hayden.
Both riders shared a win during the previous round at Virginia International Raceway, but the Team Graves Yamaha rider Hayes leads Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Hayden by 11 points; Hayes has 364, Hayden 353.
Hayes has one up on Hayden going into NJMP, though. Last year Hayes took both races, beating out the 2009 AMA Superbike Champion Mat Mladin during his seventh-title winning year. This was much work for Hayes at the 2.25-mile track, considering Mladin had won 10 out 20 races in 11 rounds (the Australian did not compete at Topeka due to safety concerns).
Hayes has said Thunderbolt Raceway at NJMP suits his riding style, and he will be looking for another win to further extend his lead over his nemesis Hayden, who scored his first-ever Superbike win this year at Auto Club Speedway in California. Hayden placed his GSX-R1000 on the podium 12 times, including four wins. Hayes had his R1 on the podium 11 times, including five wins.
Another battle has heated up for third, where National Guard Jordan Suzuki rider Jake Zemke sits with 286 points, just 12 points ahead of Pat Clark Motorsports rider Ben Bostrom.
Zemke, who swept both Daytona Superbike races, couldn’t break into the top five in the last three rounds (VIR, Laguna Seca, Mid-Ohio), and had to settle for double eighth-place finishes at VIR. Zemke has reported his issues, sayting the team has struggled with setup on his GSX-R1000.
But in those same three rounds, Bostrom was getting much more positive results than the first part of the season, placing his Yamaha YZF-R1 in second at both VIR races, winning Laguna Seca, and taking a 2-4 at Mid-Ohio. Bostrom is also dealing with a healing left thumb after smashing during qualifying at Mid-Ohio. But although healing, his results have been on a positive trend.
Foremost Insurance Ducati rider Larry Pegram is in fifth with 255 points. He won his first and only race of the 2010 season at Auto Club Speedway, but could only get his 1198 R on the podium three additional times, all third-place finishes. At the last round in VIR, Pegram finished 4-9.
According to NJMP
Brett McCormick, brought in by the Jordan Suzuki team to sub for the injured Aaron Yates, took his best finish yet with a nice fourth place finish at the last event at VIR.
Aaron actually took part in practice and qualifying at VIR but elected to sit out the race, feeling he wasn’t quite up to his full race distance strength yet after his long recuperation from injuries suffered at Auto Club Speedway back in March. Hayden’s teammate, Blake Young has also been sidelined since a testing accident but he took his first series wins earlier this year at Road Atlanta.
Chris Ulrich and his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki is also having a good year. He has run consistently in the top ten and currently sits seventh in the points, the highest placed rider in the series without a race win to his credit but that day is coming soon.
Taylor Knapp is also doing big things with his small but effective team, the RidersDiscount.com Suzuki rider has shown good speed and racecraft all season long.
AMA SPEED TV Schedule
10 p.m Saturday, Sept. 4: AMA Superbike Race 1
11 p.m. AMA Daytona Sportbike Race 1, Supersport highlights
10 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 5: AMA Daytona Sportbike Race 2
11 p.m., Sunday, Sept. 5: AMA Superbike Race 2, Supersport highlights
AMA Superbike Championship Points (after 8 of 10 rounds):
1. Josh Hayes 364
2. Tommy Hayden 353
3. Jake Zemke 286
4. Ben Bostrom 274
5. Larry Pegram 255
6. Blake Young 197
7. Chris Ulrich 176
8. Taylor Knapp 173
9. Brett McCormick 145
10. Chris Clark 105