2012 AMA Pro Racing
As much as he wanted to ignore the word, even Josh Hayes had to admit that he has momentum on his side. While the reigning AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike champ's dominant speed in Sonoma only resulted in one of two wins due to a Sunday mistake, he carried that pace into last weekend's round at Miller Motorsports Park and proved unstoppable.
The Monster Energy Graves Yamaha star continued in that same fashion on Friday at Road America, and boasted an advantage throughout the day better described in seconds than tenths or hundredths.
Despite the day's cool and windy conditions, Hayes powered his YZF-R1 around the 4.05-mile circuit with a blistering lap time of 2:11.554 in the weekend's very first practice session -- only 0.013 seconds off Mat Mladin's course record posted back in 2007 when the class allowed considerably more extensive technical modifications.
The Mississippian was back into the '11s in the qualifying session, ultimately claiming provisional pole with over a second to spare at 2:11.853.
"Today started off fantastic," Hayes admitted. "I'm feeling good, the bike is working great, and I'm excited to get back to this racetrack that has always been one of my favorites, if not my favorite. We pulled the bike off the truck and the bike is working, things are clicking.
"I looked at the rundown of results last year and saw I qualified pretty fast. I wondered how I did in the first session and I saw a '13.1 and thought, 'Man, I was on it.' I kind of saw the cold weather and the clouds and a little bit of a wind, and hoped I could perform as well today. To go out and perform as well as I did this morning was awesome. I got a little bit of help on that one lap, but I think that I've got '11s pretty steady in the bike.
"All-in-all, the bike is working fantastic and I'm excited for the crew because this is home for a lot of the guys."
Of his midseason surge, Hayes said, "I'm just trying to keep things going. I hate to use the word momentum but things are clicking and going well and I'm just trying to keep it on the same page. If I can keep it consistent and keep doing my thing, it's a successful program."
While Hayes' chief rival Blake Young was expected to be his biggest threat this weekend (Young is from nearby Madison, Wis., won his first-ever AMA Pro Road Race at Road America, and defeated Hayes here on Saturday last year), Young was once again bumped down to third by Hayes' teammate, Josh Herrin.
Just days after beating Young on the last lap at Miller Motorsports Park, the SuperBike freshman put in a last-lap flyer of 2:13.087 to jump from 10th on the order to second, bumping the Yoshimura Suzuki ace to third at 2:13.178.
National Guard Jordan Suzuki's Roger Hayden claimed the final spot on the provisional front row with a best time of 2:13.698, fractionally ahead of Geoff May on the Team Amsoil/Hero EBR entry that has become a fixture near the front.
May's #99 EBR 1190RS split up the Michael Jordan Motorsports entries on the order, as Jordan Suzuki's Ben Bostrom was sixth.
Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing's Larry Pegram put the BMW S1000RR seventh while the mending Steve Rapp completed provisional Row 2 on the Attack Performance Kawasaki ZX-10R.
Hayes will enter Saturday morning as a heavy favorite to up his perfect season pole streak to five.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Cameron Beaubier of Y.E.S. Graves Yamaha took provisional pole for the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike race in Wisconsin on Friday. Beaubier topped Jason DiSalvo (Latus Motors Racing Triumph) and Martin Cardenas (GEICO Suzuki) in what is shaping up to be a similar plotline to recent races that have seen the same group of riders contesting the wins.
Cardenas led much of the session but was bested by the Yamaha man late. "I nailed everything," said Beaubier, who had crashed earlier in the session and set his best time on his second Yamaha YZF-R6. "I think I still have some time left in me."
Beaubier's lap of 2:19.638 was under the previous AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike lap record at Road America.
DiSalvo's flyer came on his last time around before taking the checkered flag. Jake Zemke was fourth for Ducshop Ducati, making it four makes on the front row.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki's Jake Lewis took the provisional pole for the AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport class at Road America. Lewis, who won earlier this year at Road Atlanta, topped Dustin Dominguez of Latus Motors Racing Triumph, James Rispoli of Orient Express Celtic Racing, and Corey Alexander of the National Guard Fairhills Group Celtic Racing.
"It was a pretty good lap," said Lewis, who set his time after a red flag. "It's four miles around, so you have to hit your lines every time around here."
Lewis barely edged Dominguez for the best lap. Lewis' 2:21.833 was less than 0.04 better than the Triumph rider's top lap.