AMA Pro Racing: Infineon Preview

Superbike News

After a four-week break, AMA Pro Racing returns this weekend at Infineon Raceway, with Jake Zemke leading in American Superbike, and Josh Herrin in Daytona Sportbike.

The 12-turn, 2.28-mile track in Sonoma, Calif., will host the fourth of 10 rounds. And what a season so far; the leaders in each class are only separated by a few points.

American Superbike

Competition is the tightest it’s been in years in the liter-bike class, as the first six races (two per round) rewarded wins to four different riders. The current leader, National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Zemke, has 145 points after his double in Daytona and remaining finishes, which were all in the top four.

The San Francisco native has never won an American SBK event at Infineon, but has had two Formula Xtreme victories there in 2005 and 2008.

Jake Zemke says: "We’ve definitely got to get our act together if we’re going to win this championship, so we’ll put our heads together and see what we can come up with for Infineon."

But close behind is Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider Tommy Hayden, who trails Zemke but just four points. The Kentuckian took his first-ever American Superbike victory during Round 2 at Auto Club Speedway. Besides his win, the brother of MotoGP Champion Nicky Hayden and World Superbike rider Roger Hayden placed his GSX-R1000 on the podium four additional times, and his worst finish going into Infineon is sixth.

Running third in the championship is Hayden’s teammate, Blake Young. The Wisconsin native doubled at the last round at Road Atlanta. He missed out on the Infineon round last year during his rookie season after injuring his wrist at the 2009 Road Atlanta race.

During Race 1 at this year’s Road Atlanta round, Team Graves Yamaha rider Josh Hayes would unofficially take the win, but be placed into sixth after the race due to a jumped start, giving the race to Young. In Race 2, Hayes and Young would battle intensely, but Young would come out victorious.

Speaking of Hayes, he sits in fourth in the championship race, and won last year’s Infineon race. Hayes, of Mississippi, put an end to Mladin’s seven-race winning streak. Mladin would take Race 2, but wouldn’t dominate the 2009 season like he had in previous years; Hayes would go on to win the last four races.

Besides his win at last year’s Sonoma race, Hayes was also fastest during a practice session in Sonoma earlier this month.

As for injured riders, Zemke’s teammate Aaron Yates and M4 Monster Energy Suzuki rider John Hopkins is out. Yates, who continues to recuperate at his Georgia home, broke his leg during a practice session at Auto Club Speedway during round 2. The 18-year-old Canadian Superbike rider Brett McCormick is riding for Yates.

As for Hopkins, he received medical attention for a wrist injury prior to Road Atlanta, but after the race it became apparent he needed additional treatment. Riding for Hopkins is Jake Holden, an AMA Pro Racing veteran who has competed on a variety of machines in his career.

AMA Daytona Sportbike

Just as in the Superbike class, only a few points separate the leaders in the Datyona SportBike Championship. Team Graves Yamaha rider Josh Herrin has 117 points, just six points ahead of GEICO Powersports Suzuki rider and last year’s champion Danny Eslick.

Herrin, also a California native, won the Daytona 200 this year, and also took at win at Auto Club Speedway. Although Eslick, of Oklahoma, has yet to win, his three podium and two fourth-place finishes keep him close to the leader.

But sitting in third with 103 points is M4 Monster Energy Suzuki rider Martin Cardenas. The Columbian is coming off a double victory at Road Atlanta, and also swept both races at Infineon last year.

American Superbike Current Standings:
1. Jake Zemke, 145 points
2. Tommy Hayden, 141
3. Blake Young, 130
4. Josh Hayes, 107
5. Larry Pegram, 92
6. Chris Ulrich, 76
7. Taylor Knapp, 72
8. Ben Bostrom, 70
9. John Hopkins, 62
10. Aaron Yates, 62
11. Chris Clark, 52
12. Shane Narbonne, 39
13. Brett McCormick, 37
14. David Anthony, 34
15. Barrett Long, 33
16. Shawn Higbee, 32
17. Johnny Rock Page, 30
18. Jeffery Tigert, 27
19. Eric Haugo, 25
20. Eric Pinson, 24

Daytona Sportbike Current Standings:
1. Josh Herrin, 117 points
2. Danny Eslick, 111
3. Martin Cardenas, 103
4. Cory West, 91
5. Dane Westby, 90
6. Steve Rapp, 86
7. Tommy Aquino, 63
8. Clinton Seller, 51
9. Chris Fillmore, 51
10. Bobby Fong, 47
11. Geoff May, 35
12. Shawn Higbee, 33
13. Lenny Hale, 28
14. Fernando Amantini, 26
15. Jake Holden, 24
16. Tyler Odom, 18
17. Kev Coghlan, 16
18. Russ Wikle, 16
19. Mark Crozier, 15
20. Kris Turner, 13