AMA Pro Racing: Friday Barber Report

2011 AMA Road Racing

Despite the onslaught of severe thunderstorms this morning in Birmingham, Alabama, the AMA Pro Road Racing teams remained undaunted. When the weather finally cleared, they successfully wrapped up the first round of qualifying in the Barber SuperBike Classic Weekend at the scenic, 2.38-mile Barber Motorsports Park.

In the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike class, Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes remained unstoppable. Hayes has taken every pole position this season and currently holds the provisional pole at Barber, thanks to a fast lap of 1:25.980.

Next on the grid was Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider Tommy Hayden, who notched a victory at Barber last year and declared his intention to repeat in 2011 with a best provisional time of 1:26.157. Michael Jordan Motorsports Suzuki teammates Ben Bostrom (1:26.848) and Roger Hayden (1:26.850) rounded out the SuperBike front row.

Josh Hayes
(Graves Yamaha YZF-R1 Superbike) says: “I struggled with some grip early on. We wanted to run through all the tire combinations we had, and we went to the tire we raced last year. The bike was pretty good, [and] some of the changes the team made definitely helped.

“I was a little surprised to see a 25 today; I didn’t think the track was ready for that. I definitely have some ideas for tomorrow. There have been several weekends this year where, by this time in the weekend, the bike’s pretty good and I’m not sure where else to go with the set-up, but I feel like I have a few things I can improve for tomorrow.”

In AMA Pro Daytona SportBike, Josh Herrin is now sitting in the proverbial catbird seat. Winner of the last three Daytona SportBike races, the Monster Energy Graves Yamaha rider nabbed the provisional pole position with a fastest lap of 1:29.582, turned on his final lap of qualifying.

Second was Jason DiSalvo on the Team Latus Motors Ducati, who posted a fastest time of 1:29.780. Third was fellow Ducati rider P.J. Jacobson (Celtic Racing/Fast by Ferracci), who put in a lap of 1:30.134 and was closely followed by Vesrah Suzuki’s Cory West with a time of 1:30.238.

Josh Herrin (Graves Yamaha YZF-R6 Sportbike) says: “This is a track I like coming to, but I’ve also been on a pretty good roll. It’s nice to come to a race weekend and know you’re the guy to beat. I got some rain riding in this morning and I was happy to post P1 because there’s a chance it might rain tomorrow morning, and I wanted to put in a good lap just in case.”

In AMA Pro SuperSport, recent Miller Motorsports Park winner Cory Alexander set the top time of 1:31.581 before a minor get-off sidelined him for the remainder of qualifying. Following a close second was two-time 2011 race winner David Gaviria (1:31.959) on his LTD Racing Y.E.S. Yamaha.

Benny Solis – another two-time 2011 SuperSport race winner – was third, with a lap time of 1:32.034 on his Honda. Rounding out the front row was Road America winner Travis Wyman and his Harv’s Harley-Davidson AB1 Motorsports Yamaha (1:32.056).

Cory Alexander (Vesrah Suzuki GSX-R600 Supersport) says: “We were third or fourth, and we came in and put on a different tire and went back out. I did one fast lap, and that was the fastest lap that we did. I think there was a little bit of seepage after all the rain we had this morning, and I went into Turn 2 and I just hit a seam and it tucked the front end. So I sat there for about 12 minutes and hoped nobody went faster. My Vesrah Suzuki is really good, so tomorrow I think we can go even faster.”

Final qualifying for all three classes will kick off tomorrow morning, with the Vance & Hines XR1200 class qualifying at the end of the day’s action. The first of this weekend’s double-header races will kick off with the SuperSport race at 1 p.m. Central time.