GSX-R1000 Rule Broken by R1

AMA Road Racing

Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R1 racer Josh Hayes swept to a pair of AMA Superbike wins in Sonoma, Calif. on Saturday and Sunday, May 15-16.

The double wins – the fourth such pair in Hayes’ Superbike career – came at Infineon Raceway under pressure from fellow Yamaha pilot Ben Bostrom, who put in two second-place finishes aboard his own Pat Clark Motorsports R1.

Yamaha YZF-R6s also figured highly in AMA Pro Daytona SportBike, with podiums by Tommy Aquino, Josh Herrin and Dane Westby over the weekend, and in AMA Pro SuperSport, where R6s took five of the six top places on Saturday and Cameron Beaubier won Sunday’s contest outright, leading a train of four R6s to the checkers.

The 2.3-mile, 11-turn Infineon track is regarded as one of the most challenging on the AMA Superbike circuit because its serpentine layout and undulating terrain make it difficult for riders to put the power of the big superbikes to ground.

Although Hayes had earned the top qualifying spot, rival Blake Young took the early lead in Saturday’s race one – but that didn’t stop Hayes from utilizing the crossplane crankshaft R1’s potent combination of tractable power and quick handling to lunge to the front on the first lap.

Impressively, Hayes then lead all 22 race laps, leading Bostrom to the checkered flag by nearly 3.7 seconds.

Sunday’s race two saw rival Larry Pegram get the early jump on the field, but Hayes got past on lap six and then rode the rest of the race up front while Bostrom eventually worked his way into second.

Josh Hayes says: "It’s hard to utilize all the horsepower a superbike makes at a track like this," Hayes admitted later. "But the R1 is so good through the bumpy parts, I almost felt like I was cheating! I could get on the throttle early, and when you can do that there are lots of opportunities."

Yamaha road racing team manager Tom Halverson added, "We had a really good test here and the riders and crews gained a lot of confidence, so it was good to see the hard work pay off. For sure it was a great weekend for the entire team."

2010 AMA Superbike Points – 5/16/10

1) Jake Zemke – 178
2) Tommy Hayden – 174
3) Josh Hayes – Yamaha- 170
4) Blake Young – 162
5) Larry Pegram – 134

2010 AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Points – 5/16/10

1) Danny Eslick – 168
2) Josh Herrin – Yamaha -158
3) Martin Cardenas – 133
4) Dane Westby – Yamaha – 129
5) Cory West – 119

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One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007 and is currently Editor at Large at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of 365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).