Josh Hayes continued his positive trend in AMA Pro National Guard American SuperBike competition Friday by topping the charts late in both afternoon sessions to get on the provisional pole for this weekend’s Suzuki SuperBike Doubleheader at Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin’s Road America.
Under overcast skies and drying track conditions following a morning rain, Hayes pushed his No. 4 Team Graves Yamaha YZR-R1 to a laptime of 2:14.168 (108.615 mph) in the second-to-last lap of practice and improved on that in qualifying, posting a time of 2:14.002 (108.751 mph) with a last-lap flyer on his backup bike. The Mississippian has shown steady improvement since his opening round finish of 13th at Daytona International Speedway in March, earning four podiums and one pole in the last five races.
Josh Hayes says: "I came in to get a tire to go out and see if I could get a good time while it was fresh to finish up the session," Hayes commented on his qualifying run. "I immediately had an issue, I couldn’t quite put a finger on what the problem was so I just carefully rode the bike back in. We swapped the wheels from one bike to another and I went out cold on that bike and got one flying lap and it worked well."
"It’s actually confidence inspiring to know that I have two motorcycles. If I go out and press my luck and try to find some time in practice and tip over I know that I have another good motorcycle there ready to go. It takes some pressure off of me and allows me to see if I can up the ante on these guys without worrying about making mistakes."
Second in qualifying was Tommy Hayden on the No. 22 Rockstar/Makita/ Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000, who continues to show consistency this season with a laptime of 2:14.337 (108.480 mph). Hayden earned his breakthrough SuperBike victory in race two at Auto Club Speedway in March and has amassed five podiums in the season’s eight races.
Larry Pegram posted the third fastest time of the session with a laptime of 2:14.669 (108.212 mph). Pegram earned his first SuperBike wins in 10 years with back-to-back victories at last year’s Road America event.
Final qualifying for American SuperBike begins at 10:00 a.m. local time, with an open grid fan walk kicking off at 12:30 p.m. and race one of the weekend’s doubleheader at Road America scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Sunday will see a rider autograph session at 10:50 a.m., a second fan grid walk at 11:30 a.m. and race two of American SuperBike competition at 2:30 p.m.
SPEED will be broadcasting same-weekend coverage of both SuperBike races, with race one airing Saturday, June 5th at 10 p.m. ET and race two airing late Sunday night/Monday morning at 12 a.m. ET (midnight). A re-broadcast of Saturday’s race one final will also be broadcast on Sunday, June 6th at 2 p.m. ET.