2013 AMA Pro Road Racing, Round 2
After an extremely long break from round one at Daytona in March, the 2013 AMA Pro Road Racing series resumed this weekend at Road America for the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader in Elkhart Lake, Wis.
And after Friday’s practice sessions ended, Yamaha was the brand on top. Leading the way in AMA SuperBike was no surprise – three-time SBK Champion Josh Hayes aboard the Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1.
In AMA SportBike, the man to setting the pace was Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha pilot Cameron Beaubier, the winner of the Daytona 200.
And in AMA SuperSport, Stefano Mesa earned the provisional pole aboard the Motosport.com/RS Racecraft Yamaha YZF-R6.
The riders will return to the Road America Circuit Saturday morning for qualifying and the first race in each class. Following is a Friday report of the action at Road America from AMA Pro Road Racing:
Road America AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Friday Recap
Defending AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike champion Josh Hayes admitted that he felt a bit rusty on Friday at Road America as GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing resumed the 2013 championship chase.
Rusty or not, Hayes was still the class of the field as the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader kicked off, topping Friday’s free practice and then earning provisional pole position aboard his Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha YZF-R1.
Despite lapping well off his record-setting laps of a year ago – a fact he attributed primarily to a change in available tire selections – Hayes led the way with a fast time of 2:13.355.
Following his Daytona double DNF, the reigning triple champ is in need of a big weekend here in Wisconsin.
“It’s going okay,” Hayes said. “I’m feeling like it’s been a little bit of a tough day – I feel a little rusty. But for the most part, I’m happy I’m riding a motorcycle; it’s been a long time.
“This is usually a good track for me. I usually get up to speed a bit quicker. But usually we’re usually four or five races into the season before we get here. This is a pretty tough one to come here and go fast right off the bat with all the long straightaways and you have to be pretty pinpoint with all your brake markers. I guess it’s taking me a little longer than I’d like to get rolling, but all in all, it’s going good. We’re still a small step ahead of the rest of the guys. We’ll keep plugging away.”
During last year’s stop at Road America, Hayes went virtually unchallenged; besides posting a perfect points weekend by claiming pole, leading the most laps in both races, and earning the double win, Hayes was the fastest man in every single practice, qualifying session, and race, by more than a second per lap.
As Hayes hinted, that was not the case today. Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Martin Cardenas threw down a fast lap of 2:13.776 late in qualifying today to move within 0.421 seconds of Hayes’ best time.
The reigning GoPro Daytona SportBike champ has already collected a win and a runner-up result this season and is quickly establishing himself as a serious SuperBike title contender.
Like Hayes, National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s title hopeful, Roger Hayden, comes into Road America looking to make up for a less-than-ideal opener. The Kentuckian got off to a strong start on Friday, clocking the third best time at 2:14.503.
A further 0.130 seconds adrift is early-season points leader, Josh Herrin. The #2 Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha ace rounds out the provisional front row in his first day back in official action following his breakthrough Daytona performance.
The provisional second row is headed by yet another Yamaha-mounted rider. Larry Pegram, who scored two podiums in the season opener, was fifth best today on the Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing Yamaha R1. He was followed on the charts by Jordan Suzuki’s Danny Eslick, Cardenas’ Yoshimura teammate, Chris Clark, and Team Hero’s Geoff May on the EBR 1190RS.
Motosport.com Motul Fly Racing’s David Anthony and KTM/HMC Racing’s Chris Fillmore round out the day’s top ten.
The final grid positions will be decided Saturday morning ahead of the afternoon’s 13-lap National Guard SuperBike contest.
Road America AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike Friday Recap
Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha pilot Cameron Beaubier earned provisional pole for the GoPro Daytona SportBike class on Friday. The DAYTONA 200 winner was quickest in both of the day’s sessions and the Californian was the only rider to break the 2:20-mark on the historic 4.05-mile circuit with a time of 2:19.908.
“After practice, I was expecting to get a little lower on my times,” Beaubier said. “It didn’t happen. I did three or four of those laps but I couldn’t get to the next step of lowering my lap times. I’m happy with that, though, and we’ll see if the weather is good tomorrow and try to improve it.”
Young riders dominate the provisional second row in GoPro Daytona SportBike, with riders 21 and under taking all the spots. Jake Lewis (Meen Motorsports), James Rispoli (National Guard/Celtic Racing), Garrett Gerloff (Y.E.S./Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha) and Joey Pascarella (Riders Discount Racing Triumph) earned fifth through ninth.
The battle behind Beaubier heated up late in the session. Jake Gagne of the RoadRace Factory/Red Bull squad earned second, just ahead of Dane Westby (GEICO Honda) and J.D. Beach, who made it two RoadRace Factory pilots on the provisional front row. Westby, after being injured in a practice crash at Daytona, appeared fully recovered in Wisconsin and was able to make his mark on Friday.
Road America AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport Friday Recap
Stefano Mesa earned provisional pole in Friday afternoon’s AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport session.
Mesa, a winner last season at Road America, joined the Motosport.com/RS Racecraft squad for this event and was able to set the best lap time of 2:24.275. Mesa won earlier this year at Daytona and the Colombian showed he will be a contender again this weekend.
Corey Alexander (National Guard/Celtic Racing) followed on Mesa’s tail, followed by a surprising Ricardo Valdez (Southeast Sales) and Baby Appleseed/CM Motorsport’s Jeffrey Tigert.