Road Atlanta: Yamaha in a Suzuki Sea

Road Atlanta Report

Yamaha R6s and R1s raced to two wins and six other podium finishes in a hard-fought third round of the 2010 AMA Superbike series at Road Atlanta in Georgia on Saturday and Sunday, April 17-18.

J.D. Beach led a swarm of YZF-R6s that swept the SuperSport podium on both days, while on Sunday Team Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes finished second in the premier Superbike race on his YZF-R1 and teammate Josh Herrin also took second in an especially competitive Pro Daytona SportBike race on his R6.

After the weekend, Hayes now lies fourth in Superbike points, Herrin leads Daytona SportBike, and Beach sits second in SuperSport points (with fellow R6 pilot Cameron Beaubier in first).

Saturday’s Superbike and Daytona SportBike contests threw plenty of challenges at the Graves Yamaha squad. In Superbike, a fantastic ride earned Hayes the win, but he later received a time penalty that demoted him from the winner’s circle to sixth place – along with a corresponding loss of points.

Herrin experienced a another challenge, battling as high as third before running off the track and winding up only eighth at the finish. Nevertheless, the R6s of Dane Westby, Tommy Aquino, Clinton Seller and Herrin still occupied four of the top eight positions overall.

The mark of a great team is its ability to rebound, and the Graves crew did just that on Sunday. In Superbike, Hayes and rival Blake Young smoked the rest of the field throughout the entire race. Though Young eventually prevailed, Hayes finished just 0.136 sec. behind.

Then in the second Daytona SportBike race, less than two seconds cloaked the first eight riders. Herrin, Martin Cardenas, Steve Rapp and Cory West all took turns in front – only to slip back as the pack surged. On the last crazy lap, Herrin raced from fifth to second in an astonishing charge, taking the flag just behind Cardenas.

Tom Halverson says: "Both Joshes rode with a lot of heart today," said Yamaha road race team manager Tom Halverson. "Josh Herrin fought hard to the bitter end, and Josh Hayes put yesterday’s disappointment behind him to get right up front again and fight for the win."

2010 AMA Superbike Points
1) Jake Zemke – Suzuki: 145
2) Tommy Hayden – Suzuki: 141
3) Blake Young – Suzuki: 130
4) Josh Hayes – Yamaha: 107
5) Larry Pegram – Ducati: 92
2010 AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Points

1) Josh Herrin – Yamaha: 117
2) Danny Eslick – Suzuki: 111
3) Martin Cardenas – Suzuki: 103
4) Cory West – Suzuki:91
5) Dane Westby – Yamaha: 90