2011 AMA Pro Racing
Josh Herrin grabbed his first Daytona SportBike win of the 2011 AMA Road Racing season aboard his Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha YZF-R6, with Cameron Beaubier third on another R6, at Miller Motorsports Park in Toole, Utah on Sunday, May 29.
Yamaha teammate Josh Hayes nearly duplicated the result in Superbike on Memorial Day, but came up less than a second short behind rival Blake Young. With his win, Herrin advances to third in the Daytona SportBike points, while Hayes happily maintains his points lead in the premier Superbike class.
Over the weekend, the AMA Superbike riders were joined at Miller by the World Superbike stars, who raced their familiar double-race format on Monday. In the twin rounds, Yamaha’s Eugene Laverty posted fifth- and fourth-place finishes, while teammate Marco Melandri finished tenthth and sixth.
Herrin is one of the riders to beat in Daytona SportBike once again this year. He qualified third on Saturday and stormed into Sunday’s race ready to win. But victory certainly did not come easily. Rival PJ Jacobsen took the early lead, followed by Herrin and other rivals Cory West, Dane Westby and Jason DiSalvo – and later by Yamaha-mounted Beaubier. While Jacobsen led most of the 16 laps, as the race progressed on a wet-but- drying track, it was West who found himself in the lead, with Herrin studying him for any opportunity.
The Yamaha rider attacked twice on the final lap, made his pass stick, and held off Jacobsen by just 0.161 sec. at the flag. Making Herrin’s win and Beaubier’s podium ever sweeter for Yamaha, three more R6 racers, Josh Galster, Paul Allison and Y.E.S./Pat Clark Motorsport’sTommy Aquino, finished eighth through 10th, respectively, giving Yamaha five of the top 10 positions in this competitive class. Yamaha road racing team manager Tom Halverson said, “Josh rode a smart race in very tricky conditions and it was great to see him back on top of the podium.”
In AMA Superbike, Hayes was ready to follow up his victory at California’s Infineon Raceway on May 14. His practice and qualifying times were formidable, and the R1 rider again earned the pole position on Sunday.
When the field finally stormed through the first turn in Monday’s 16-lap race, Hayes, Young, Martin Cardenas and Tommy Hayden gapped the field immediately, engaging in a race-long battle that saw the Yamaha ace trading the lead with Young on several occasions. Young attacked leader Hayes once more at the start of the final lap, nipping ahead in turn one, then riding a defensive line to protect his lead and ultimately besting Hayes by a heartbreaking 0.756 sec. “Josh has won every pole and led the most race laps at every event this year, and it’s frustrating to not get the win at Miller,” Halverson added. “But that just fuels the entire team to work even harder at the next round!”
Congratulation also goes to Y.E.S./Pat ClarkMotorsport’s Chris Clark who rode his R1 to a career best finish of sixth in AMA Superbike.