Jake Holden led an unpredictable AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited practice session while Roger Hayden topped the charts in AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL practice in the opening day of Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix on-track activities at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Riding the No. 59 Corona Extra Honda CBR1000RR, Holden posted a best lap time at 1:25.525 (94.204 mph) to pace a 33-rider field in Friday practice. The rider from Puyallup, Wash. is currently 11th in the American Superbike championship standings and owns a best result this season of fifth from the first race of a doubleheader at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. in March. Holden won his first AMA Pro race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Superstock competition in 2007.
1st – Jake Holden Speaks…
"This is definitely surreal," Holden said. "I mean, this is my favorite racetrack, I’ve had my first win here, so Laguna and Jake Holden have a lot of history. I love this track. I feel really good on this bike. I’m paying for a lot of the stuff on this thing. Corona is helping me out with some stuff, but I definitely still need some help and some tire money and all that stuff to finish out the season. We’re looking for a win here, now. After the first practice I feel good."
Second quickest on the day was Tommy Hayden on the No. 22 Rockstar/Makita/Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 at 1:25.807 (93.894 mph). Hayden, whose brothers Nicky and Roger are racing in this weekend’s MotoGP and AMA Pro Daytona SportBike races at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, respectively, owns four career AMA Pro Road Racing victories at the famed Monterey, Calif. circuit. He is currently second to teammate Mat Mladin in the AMA Pro American Superbike championship standings and is looking for his first career American Superbike win this weekend.
Mladin was third in Friday practice on the No. 7 Rockstar/Makita/Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 at 1:25.946 (93.743 mph). The Aussie is 110 points clear of Hayden in the point standings, 325-215, and owns nine victories from this season’s 11 races. He owns three previous American Superbike victories at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, including wins in each of the last two American Superbike races at the venue.
Larry Pegram, who earned his first American Superbike victory in 10 years last time out at Road America, was fourth quickest today on the No. 72 Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing Ducati 1098R. Pegram’s best time was a 1:25.960 (93.727 mph). Josh Hayes, who joins Pegram and Mladin as the only riders to win in American Superbike competition this year, completed the top five on his No. 4 Yamaha Motor Corp. USA Yamaha R1. Hayes’ best lap was at 1:26.225 (93.439 mph).
The American Superbikes will qualify from 1:00 to 1:30 p.m. local time on Saturday. On Sunday, the 23-lap (50-mile) race wraps up the weekend’s activities at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix and is scheduled to roll of from a standing start at 4:15 p.m. local time.
Hayden Quickest in Daytona SportBike Practice
On the same racetrack where his brother, 2006 World Champion Nicky Hayden, has enjoyed some of his biggest triumphs, Roger Hayden got his weekend at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix off to a great start by posting the quickest time in practice for Sunday’s AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL race.
Hayden logged a best lap at 1:28.932 (90.595 mph) on the No. 95 Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R to lead a field of 44 Daytona SportBike riders to post practice times on Friday afternoon. Hayden, who missed the first three races of the 2009 season, is currently 13th in the championship standings with best results of second in the first races of doubleheaders at Road Atlanta in April and Road America last month.
1st – Roger Hayden Speaks…
"It was really good," Hayden said. "I felt comfortable and the bike seemed to be working pretty good. We’ve still got a long ways to go with it to get it 100 percent, but the team is working hard. It kind of felt good to be on pace from the get go. I had one minor crash about halfway through the session and it was just rider error on that. We’ve got a lot of ideas on how to improve the bike. I love coming to Laguna. It’s a fun little track and I’m glad to put a little smile on all my mechanics’ faces. They’ve been working hard all year."
Second on the Daytona SportBike Friday speed chart was points leader Martin Cardenas on the No. 36 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600. The Colombian turned in a best time at 1:29.036 (90.489 mph) and will go in search of his seventh victory of the season on Sunday afternoon. Cardenas currently leads Jamie Hacking (No. 88 Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R) by 51 points, 255-204, with 11 of 20 races complete. Hacking was eighth in Friday practice.
Jake Zemke was third quickest on the No. 1x Erion Racing Honda CBR600RR at 1:29.069 (90.456 mph). Zemke was also one of the quickest riders last month at Road America and heads into Sunday’s race hoping to parlay that speed into his first Daytona SportBike victory.
Jason DiSalvo, who has been the fastest qualifier in each of the last four rounds, was fourth quickest in Friday practice at 1:29.191 (90.332 mph). DiSalvo is also looking for his first win aboard a Daytona SportBike.
Posting the fifth-quickest practice time and making it four different makes inside the top five was Ben Bostrom on the No. 1s Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R6 at 1:29.192 (90.331 mph). Bostrom opened the year with a victory in the prestigious Daytona 200 By Honda and is making his first Daytona SportBike appearance since that historic victory this weekend.
Saturday’s schedule calls for the Daytona SportBikes to be on course for two groups of qualifying, one from 3:40 to 4:10 p.m. and the second from 4:20 to 4:50 p.m. Sunday’s 23-lap (50-mile) Daytona SportBike race takes the green flag at 3:30 p.m. local time.
Wikle Leads Opening SuperSport Practice
The AMA Pro SuperSport presented by Shoei class kicked off the weekend’s official on-track activities early this afternoon with a 50-minute practice session in preparation for Saturday’s race, which counts toward the SuperSport West championship. Topping the 17-rider time chart was one of the top contenders in the SuperSport East championship, Russ Wikle on the No. 5 Roadracingworld.com Suzuki GSX-R600.
Wikle posted a best lap at 1:32.621 (86.986 mph) to lead the session by nearly two tenths of a second over Ricky Parker on the No. 96 Graves Motorsports Yamaha YZF-R6. Wikle is currently second in the 2009 SuperSport East championship standings, trailing Leandro Mercado — who is not competing in this weekend’s round — by 18 points, 81-63.
Wikle is still looking for his first victory of the season as he heads into the race on Saturday afternoon. His best ride to date was a second-place performance at Barber Motorsports Park in May.
Russ Winkle Speaks…
"The session started out real good," Wikle said. "I felt like I was flying, but when I looked at my lap timer, I was only in, like, the 34s or something. I knew I was really going to have to drop the pace if I wanted to get P1 in that practice session. I came in, and we didn’t really make any adjustments to the bike, just took a break. I went back out and got down to a high 32, I think. I was satisfied with it for this practice session, but I’m definitely not satisfied with that for the whole weekend."
Parker was second at 1:32.792 (86.827 mph) as he prepares for his third SuperSport appearance of the season. Parker won in his first-ever SuperSport race a few hours up the road at Infineon Raceway in May and came home second from the most recent SuperSport round at Road America last month.
Despite missing the first two rounds of the season, Parker is currently third in the SuperSport West championship standings, behind No. 46 Erion Honda CBR600RR rider Tyler Odom, who was sixth in practice today, and Clint Shobert (No. 26 American Honda CBR600RR), who posted the 12th-quickest time.
Tomas Puerta was third on the No. 12 LTD Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 at 1:32.978 (86.653 mph), followed by Garrett Willis on the No. 80 Mach 1 Motorsports Yamaha YZF-R6 at 1:33.382 (86.278 mph). Joey Pascarella rounded out the top five at 1:33.619 (86.059 mph) on the No. 25 LTD Racing Yamaha YZF-R6.
The 18-lap (40-mile) SuperSport race wraps up on-track activities on Saturday afternoon beginning at 5:30 p.m. local time.