AMA SBK: Hayes Takes Pole #8 at Laguna

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2012 AMA SuperBike

The GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing action is heating up in Monterey, Calif. and grids are set for tomorrow’s AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike.

Despite facing a stiff challenge from noted Laguna Seca master Ben Bostrom, Josh Hayes escaped with his National Guard SuperBike pole streak intact on Saturday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.

The Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha superstar Hayes dropped his mark to a 1:24.446 during QP2 to narrowly spoil the pole aspirations of Jordan Suzuki’s Ben Bostrom (1:24.657).

The Mississippian now boasts a perfect record of eight pole positions in 2012 while his overall run has been extended to ten straight dating back to the tail-end of his second title-winning campaign.

Hayes will now seek to protect his seven-race win streak, a feat that will require him to earn a first-career Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca National Guard SuperBike triumph. He’s been close each of the past two years, but was nipped at the flag on both occasions. Considering their qualifying showdown, Hayes will no doubt remember that the man who defeated him in ’10 was none other than Bostrom.

Josh Hayes (Monster Energy Yamaha YZF-R1 SuperBike) says: “Sounds like I got a little lucky today. Everything has been going pretty well. I’ve done a couple of good strings of ’24s. I did some this morning, and I did the same thing this afternoon. I don’t even know which lap was my best. I had quite a few laps where I had to pass people.

“With eight minutes to go or so, we came in and decided if one of the guys stepped up and took pole, that was okay; we still had some things we wanted to work on to be able to do a faster race pace. I didn’t throw my last tire at it and decided to work on some other things. Fortunately, the time held up even though Ben got really, really close.”

While ’11 Laguna Seca SuperBike winner Tommy Hayden is now contesting the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike category, his younger brother, Roger, gave Hayes fits at Mid-Ohio and has shown the potential to do the same this weekend, as well.

The National Guard Jordan Suzuki pilot ranked second-quick throughout much of the session before ultimately qualifying a close third at 1:24.867 to claim the final spot on the front row in the unique three-rider-per-row format utilized alongside the MotoGP stars at Laguna Seca.

The Jordan men will look to, again, take the fight to Hayes.

Ben Bostrom
(Jordan Suzuki GSX-R 1000 SuperBike) says: “I like the track, and the bike has been really great. Obviously, all year, it keeps improving. Last race, Rog (Hayden) did an awesome job all weekend and almost put the thing on the top of the podium. It was a very inspired ride, and I expect to have a good fight with Rog and, obviously, Hayes, who is the man to beat. I’m just happy to be up fighting. It’s been a while since I’ve been at the front.”

Roger Lee Hayden (Jordan Suzuki GSX-R 1000 SuperBike) says: “I kind of cut it a little bit close there at the end. I came in and got a new tire and tried to put in a quick lap. It seemed like I was having a lot of problems getting a clean lap; there were a lot of guys out there looking for a tow, but luckily, I got one clean lap at the end and got on the front row. That’s really important at this place because there are only three spots on the front row and it’s really hard to pass.”

Hayes’ factory SuperBike teammate, Josh Herrin, appeared in danger of qualifying off the front two rows. However, the rising star found his groove late and leaped up from ninth to fourth to secure the first spot on the second row aboard his #2 Yamaha YZF-R1.

Team Amsoil/Hero EBR’s Geoff May will start from the middle of the row after qualifying second to Hayes provisionally in the morning session. He fractionally edged Yoshimura Suzuki’s Blake Young (1:25.043 vs. 1:25.073) for fifth as Young continues to search for his missing mojo.

Young has shown well at Laguna Seca in the past, including a podium finish a year ago (also from the second row) and the ’09 contest in which he pushed legend Mat Mladin deep into the contest before finishing second.

Riders Discount K&L Supply Suzuki’s Taylor Knapp will head the third row and be joined alongside by Team Hero EBR’s Danny Eslick and second Yosh runner Chris Clark.

If Hayes manages to win tomorrow’s 23-lapper, he’ll set a new single-season win streak with his eighth consecutive AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike victory.

2012 Laguna Seca AMA SuperBike Qualifying Results:

Pos No. Rider(s) Team Bike Interval Gap Best Lap Laps
1. 1 Josh Hayes Monster Energy Graves Yamaha Yamaha R1 FASTEST FASTEST 1:24.446 23
2. 23 Ben Bostrom Jordan Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 0.211 0.211 1:24.657 18
3. 54 Roger Hayden National Guard Jordan Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 0.421 0.210 1:24.867 21
4. 2 Josh Herrin Monster Energy Graves Yamaha Yamaha R1 0.583 0.162 1:25.029 14
5. 99 Geoff May Team Amsoil/Hero EBR 1190RS 0.597 0.014 1:25.043 19
6. 79 Blake Young Yoshimura Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 0.627 0.030 1:25.073 22
7. 44 Taylor Knapp Riders Discount K&L Supply Suzuki GSX-R1000 1.340 0.713 1:25.786 20
8. 69 Danny Eslick Team Hero EBR 1190RS 1.455 0.115 1:25.901 16
9. 6 Chris Clark Yoshimura Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 1.529 0.074 1:25.975 22
10. 72 Larry Pegram Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing BMW S1000RR 1.565 0.036 1:26.011 19
11. 59 Jake Holden Buyredline.com Honda CBR1000RR 1.622 0.057 1:26.068 11
12. 12 Stefan Nebel KTM/HMC Racing KTM RC8R 2.052 0.430 1:26.498 20
13. 111 Glenn Allerton DVS Suspension Racing BMW S1000RR 2.161 0.109 1:26.607 19
14. 15 Steve Rapp Attack Performance Kawasaki ZX-10 2.352 0.191 1:26.798 18
15. 18 Chris Ulrich M4 Roadracingworld.com Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 2.674 0.322 1:27.120 19
16. 77 Ricky Corey RCR Performance Yamaha R1 3.043 0.369 1:27.489 10
17. 33 Jordan Burgess Kneedraggers.com/ Motul/Fly Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 4.453 1.410 1:28.899 21
18. 171 Ivan Sala RacersEdgePerformance.com Suzuki GSX-R1000 4.965 0.512 1:29.411 22
19. 57 Bostjan Skubic Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki Suzuki GSX-R1000 5.120 0.155 1:29.566 20
20. 269 Johnny Rock Page Kneedraggers.com/ Motul/Fly Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000 5.534 0.414 1:29.980 16
21. 89 Tony Porter EDR Kawasaki ZX-10 8.242 2.708 1:32.688 16
22. 48 Reno Karimian Team Air Kawasaki ZX-10 8.285 0.043 1:32.731 2