Under hot, sunny skies, day one of the Honda Super Cycle Weekend Presented by Dunlop Tire saw first round qualifying for the three major road racing classes in the AMA Pro Road Racing series at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
In the premier AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike class, championship points leader Tommy Hayden, on his Rockstar Makita Suzuki, grabbed the provisional pole position from last year’s Mid-Ohio winner Josh Hayes at the very end of the 50 minute session.
Hayes, riding his Team Graves Yamaha, had set the pace in the first practice and throughout most of the qualifying session until Hayden bettered Hayes’ time by 0.011 of a second. Hayden posted a lap of 1:25.637/100.891 MPH around the 2.4-mile Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course to take the provisional pole position. Hayes was the first rider to dip into the 1:25 second range with a lap of 1:25.649/100.877 MPH and was only bested by Hayden.
Taking a fighting third place on the provisional grid for the doubleheader race weekend was Foremost Insurance Ducati rider and local favorite, Larry Pegram.
Pegram was consistently fast from the drop of the green flag and he also waited for the end of the session to set his best time of 1:26.179/100.256 MPH. Ben Bostrom was next up on his Pat Clark Motorsports Yamaha with a time of 1:26.184/100.251 MPH. Final qualifying will be Saturday morning at 9:30 AM.
In Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL, another points leader stole the spotlight with Josh Herrin posting his fastest lap on his 19th (of 20) lap of qualifying. Herrin, riding his Team Graves Yamaha was the only rider to get into the 1:28 second range with his lap of 1:28.732/97.372 MPH.
Herrin, who has three wins in 2010 and one pole position, has started on the front row in every race this season and currently leads the points over the man he beat to the provisional pole position today, GEICO Powersports Suzuki rider and last year’s pole sitter and race winner, Danny Eslick.
Eslick had set the early pace in the first qualifying session and then laid down a quick lap in the closing moments of qualifying until Herrin shot to the top of the time sheets. Eslick’s lap of 1:29.167/96.897 MPH looked like the time to beat and he did have one last shot at Herrin but didn’t get the lap he was looking for.
Steve Rapp, riding the Team Latus Motors Ducati, once again showed his speed and skill by running quick early and then also posting a strong lap of 1:29.588/96.442 MPH which held up with only Herrin and Eslick besting his effort.
Taking fourth was Martin Cardenas on his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki with a time of 1:29.458/96.582 MPH. Cardenas had held the top spot at one point during the session and he rallied strongly to post his best lap on his 19th lap of qualifying. Cardenas has five wins this year and is in third place in points.
In the AMA Pro SuperSport Young Gun class, the issue of fastest qualifier was also settled at the very end of the 40 minute session. The top spot in the session was held by no less than five riders and, in a mad dash to get back on the track and set a time, J.D. Beach made a late change to his Rockwall Yamaha and left the pits with little over two minutes left.
He had been trading the top spot with not only his Rockwall Yamaha teammate, Cameron Beaubier and LTD Yamaha teammates Huntley Nash and Tomas Puerta but also three-time race winner Joey Pascarella on his DNA Energy Drink CNR Yamaha.
Beach posted a sensational lap of 1:30.652/95.309 MPH, just ahead of Beaubier who was the only other rider in the 1:30 range with his lap of 1:30.849./95.103 MPH.
After all the fireworks, Nash, winner of the most recent AMA Pro SuperSport race at Road America, set a 1:31.432/94.496 MPH, just ahead of Pascarella with his 1:31.630/94.292 MPH. The battle will be rejoined early tomorrow morning in SuperSport with final qualifying set for 8:00 AM Saturday morning.