2014 AMA SuperBike Round 1 Results
The 2014 AMA SuperBike Championship began this past weekend at Daytona International Speedway with two separate winners – the reigning SBK Champion Josh Hayes in race one, and the 2014 Daytona SportBike Champion Cameron Beaubier in race two.
The action was intense, and shows there will be much competition in 2014. Following are race recaps for the opening round of 2014 AMA SuperBike.
2014 Daytona AMA SuperBike Race 1 Recap
Three-time champ Josh Hayes reminded the world that he’s still the man to beat in AMA Pro SuperBike – and he won’t be beaten easily – with a stunning victory in Friday afternoon’s season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
The Monster Energy Graves Yamaha legend came into the weekend anxious to make up for last year’s disappointment, both at Daytona and in his subsequent title defeat. However motivated, he looked very much under threat of having his thunder stolen once again.
Hayes’ rookie teammate, Cameron Beaubier, shocked the paddock by topping the very first SuperBike qualifying session of his career on Thursday. And then this morning another rival, Roger Hayden, whose challenge has been bolstered by his move to the powerful Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing team, stepped forward to claim the second SuperBike pole position of his career.
Despite his opponents’ pre-race success, Hayes attempted to leave them in his wake from the start. The Mississippian slotted into first from his starting spot on the outside of Row 1 and proceeded to rip open almost two seconds worth of padding in the race’s first two laps.
But Beaubier, Hayden, and second Yosh title hopeful, Martin Cardenas quickly regrouped and started chipping away at Hayes’ early advantage.
Cardenas’ chances for a second straight Daytona SuperBike win evaporated on lap 4. The Colombian lost the front and crashed in the infield just as the trio was making solid progress in their combined effort to run the leader back down. That mishap, along with Beaubier’s and Hayden’s successful counterpunches, transformed the race into a three-rider scrap for the lead on lap 5.
The rookie then tested his highly decorated teammate on multiple occasions while Hayden settled in for a more patient ride, content to sit close behind in third.
On lap 6, Beaubier made his first rookie mistake – running wide entering Turn 1 after getting a full head of steam in Hayes’ draft and nearly blasting by into the lead. While it seemed likely that Hayes and Hayden would then decide the race between themselves, Beaubier put his head back down and erased another near-two-second margin in just three laps time to once again fight his way into the mix.
The 21-year old even managed to sneak the nose of his YZF-R1 into first on a few occasions, but the cagey Hayes always found a way to put his wheel over the stripe with the lead.
With less than two laps remaining, Beaubier repeated his earlier error, again running wide as they came off the banking. This time, he left himself too few laps to work back into contention for the win and was forced to accept a third-place result in his premier-class debut. Despite a couple of missteps that may have cost him victory, Beaubier demonstrated his immense potential by setting the race’s fast lap – a 1:37.425 that was nearly eight tenths better than Hayes’ fastest.
This all seemed to unfold in Hayden’s favor, positioning him perfectly for a final-lap strike. The Suzuki pilot powered out of Hayes’ slipstream and moved up alongside him in the run to the checkered flag. But Hayes wisely forced Hayden to commit to an outside line, and in the end, the triple champ held on for the win by a scant 0.025-second margin.
While they both proved themselves worthy challengers, rather than allow Beaubier to score his first or Hayden his second, Hayes came through for his 42nd career AMA Pro SuperBike win.
“I couldn’t be happier,” Hayes said after redeeming last year’s Daytona double DNF. “It was a great day, and it was a really fun race. There was a lot of nervous pressure out there. It was ‘+0′ on the board the whole time… Well, I actually had a gap for a little bit but they closed it down. I was like, ‘all right, stay settled down, and just ride smart.’ It was fun racing but hard on the nerves, hard on the old ticker. I still have a few tricks up my sleeve; let’s see if I can pull out a few more tomorrow.”
Speaking of his final-lap strategy, Hayes explained, “The last lap, I could tell Cam had run wide, and I knew Rog was right there. I could hear his bike. My biggest thing was I knew I had to hit the apex of every corner. I couldn’t run wide and just give him an opportunity… On the banking I brought it down pretty tight. I was hoping that if he tried, he’d have to go the long way and go up on the high part of the banking. I figured that was my only chance because if I let him get underneath me, I’d be dead meat.”
Runner-up Hayden said, “It was a pretty good race. It took me a little while to get going the first few laps and Josh got a nice gap. When Cameron came by me, I just sat in behind him instead of trying to battle back and forth and slow us down. I was hoping he could pull us back to Josh, and he did. I was just sitting there at the end. I didn’t really know where I could get by, but I got a drive coming out of the chicane on the last lap. I almost got Josh there at the end, but I just came up a little short.”
Reigning AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike champion Beaubier said of his head-turning debut, “I definitely feel good about that ride. I made a few mistakes – rookie mistakes. I was all excited that I was up at the front, battling with those guys – they were riding really good. I made a mistake and burned up my tire trying to catch back up after I blew the first corner. But I’m really happy.”
Meanwhile, Cardenas remounted his fallen GSX-R and charged back up through the field, finally working his way to 12th in the end. That determined ride helped to somewhat lessen the damage his spill had to his championship aspirations.
Third Yoshimura entry Chris Clark won out in a race-long battle for fourth he waged with ADR Motorsports/Sic/Motul Fly Racing’s David Anthony (fifth) and KTM/HMC Racing’s Chris Fillmore (sixth).
Behind them, Cusanelli Motorsport’s Diego Pierluigi of Argentina got the best of a five-man dogfight for seventh. He was followed closely by TOBC Suzuki’s Taylor Knapp, Team AMSOIL Hero EBR’s Cory West, DMS Racing’s Stefano Mesa, and Proto-Tech Spain Yamaha’s Bernat Martinez.
2014 Daytona AMA SuperBike Race 2 Recap
The AMA Pro SuperBike pilots who have managed to claim a race victory in their rookie season belong to an extremely short list.
On Saturday at Daytona International Speedway, Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier not only joined that exclusive company, he did so in his debut weekend as a premier-class contender.
And “contender” may just be the key word, as the ’13 Daytona SportBike champ has gained an early advantage in this year’s SuperBike title fight on the strength of today’s win and yesterday’s podium.
Beaubier successfully applied the lessons learned during Friday’s third-place ride and orchestrated his victory with impressive tactical acumen. Caught up in a three-way dogfight to the checkered flag, the 21-year-old perfectly set up the contest’s decisive strike. He took full advantage of his Yamaha YZF-R1’s superior top-end hit and overhauled Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing teammates Roger Hayden and Martin Cardenas on the race’s final lap to win by a narrow margin.
The Californian stormed to the checkered flag 0.090 seconds ahead of Hayden, who repeated Friday’s runner-up result, while second Yosh pilot Martin Cardenas was just another 0.044 seconds adrift in third.
Beaubier’s stunning performance was in stark contrast to the demoralizing result of his decorated Yamaha teammate, three-time series king Josh Hayes. The Mississippian appeared to have put last year’s disastrous Daytona opener behind him with his Friday win.
However, last year’s poor luck returned today, as Hayes was forced to retire with another mechanical issue while fighting for the lead, sitting up as the riders took the stripe to open lap 9 of 15. He was officially credited with 21st and took no points on the day.
Hayes once again finds himself in an early hole in the championship fight. While not nearly as deep as last year’s post-Daytona deficit, this season he faces the added difficulty of a shorter race season and the absence of the bonus points for pole position and laps led he so frequently used to pad his tally in year’s past.
After claiming his breakthrough victory, Beaubier said, “This means everything. I’ve worked really hard to get to where I am. I can’t thank Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha enough for giving me this opportunity on the R1.
“It was a little bit smoother of a race than yesterday – I didn’t go off the track or anything, which I was happy about. I was a little more consistent. We made a little bit of a spring change – we went stiffer on the rear shock, which was better when the tire was fresh but when it went off I was sliding pretty good. I couldn’t drive off the corners quite as well as everyone else. But I’m really lucky my bike had some steam on these guys – they were riding really well. Now I’m looking forward to going to some road courses.”
Hayden sits just a single point out of first with his pair of second-place runs. His opener marks an excellent start to the year for the Kentuckian, who has traditionally started slow and worked up to speed as the year has taken shape.
Hayden said, “It’s a little disappointing to come so close to winning both races but coming in second. But it’s a good start to the year and that was a fun race, battling at the end. Everybody was kind of swapping around.
“It’s a good start for me – I usually start the season really slow and then by the third or fourth race I get going. So I’m glad to start strong. I can’t thank the whole Yoshimura team enough for this opportunity they gave me. I didn’t know I had a job this year until Christmas Eve so to get two seconds at Daytona…I can’t complain.”
Cardenas successfully rebounded from yesterday’s crash with a close third. The Colombian was in contention throughout the affair but just missed out in the final shuffle at the stripe.
“Today was much better than yesterday,” Cardenas said. “Yesterday I could not ride the bike as I wanted to and had a little crash. But today I bounced back. I was hoping for maybe a little better – first or second – but it wasn’t possible. I didn’t make the best of the last part of the race so third is good enough for today.”
The tussle for fourth was a virtual repeat from Friday with Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Chris Clark, ADR Motorsports/Sic/Motul Fly Racing’s David Anthony and KTM/HMC Racing’s Chris Fillmore running in tight formation.
And, again, it was Clark who came out on top – this time handing Yosh a 2-3-4 result – while Anthony and Fillmore matched yesterday’s respective fifth and sixth.
That trend continued down the order as Cusanelli Motorsports Argentina’s Diego Pierluigi, TOBC Suzuki’s Taylor Knapp, and Team AMSOIL Hero EBR’s Cory West replicated their Friday seventh, eighth, and ninth. In fact, the only change in Saturday’s top-ten order outside of the podium placings was the tenth-position run of GEICO Motorcycle Road Racing Honda’s Chris Ulrich.
Following the completion of this year’s opener, young Beaubier leads the way with 51 points. Hayden is second at 50, followed by Clark (36) and Anthony (32). That leaves Hayes and Cardenas even with Fillmore at 30 and with some work ahead of them.