2013 AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike
Only five races remain to decide the 2013 AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike championship, and two of those crucial contests will be waged this weekend at Miller Motorsports Park as GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing travels to Tooele, Utah.
Defending triple champion Josh Hayes (No. 1 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1) took an important step toward becoming the first man in series’ history to claim four consecutive SuperBike titles last time out at Laguna Seca.
The Mississippian collected maximum points and scored a dominating victory, powering away from the field right from the start to stretch his narrow points lead out to eleven.
The scary reality for his rivals is the fact that Hayes never seemed completely on his game in Monterey, openly admitting to be somewhat out of sorts on a track that doesn’t rank among his best on the tour.
However, expect the champion to be laser focused this weekend at Miller Motorsports Park, which stands as among his favorite circuits and one that rewards his precise lines and consistent style.
Hayes, who took his first win at MMP in his first visit to the track in 2006 in the Formula Extreme class, proved untouchable in Utah last season, as he won in convincing fashion and scored yet another maximum points haul weekend.
Last year, the damage he could inflict was limited by the fact that only a single race was contested as the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing competitors shared the bill with the FIM Superbike World Championship. However, this year’s standalone event will see Hayes head into to Utah as the weekend favorite with a full doubleheader schedule awaiting him.
Hayes’ chief title rivals, Josh Herrin (No. 2 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1) and Martin Cardenas (No. 36 Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000) are no slouches at Miller Motorsports Park themselves.
Herrin, who currently ranks second with 212 points to his teammate’s 223, earned his first-ever AMA Pro podium just weeks after turning 16 in 2006 with a third-place run in the Supersport race at Miller Motorsports Park. Herrin took his first MMP win two years ago by taking first in the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike contest. And last year, Herrin impressed by outdueling two-time SuperBike runner-up Blake Young on the race’s final lap to claim second place behind Hayes.
Cardenas too has an impressive track record at Miller Motorsports Park. The Colombian, who ranks third with 207 points, battled in the lead group in 2011 as a SuperBike class rookie before crashing out of contention. He bounced back last season to win the Daytona SportBike race at the venue en route to taking his second SportBike crown.
While the title race has realistically been whittled down to a three-man race, a number of SuperBike pilots retain serious spoiler potential. Chief among them is Roger Hayden (No. 54 National Guard Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000), who has arguably been the series’ second fastest rider and very nearly even on pace with Hayes during the middle part of the ’13 season.
Hayden’s Laguna Seca disappointment allowed his Michael Jordan Motorsport teammate, Danny Eslick (No. 23 Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000), to overtake him for fourth in the ’13 standings. Eslick has racked up three consecutive fourth-place results as he continues to work hard to bridge the gap separating him from the series’ regular podium contenders.
Geoff May (No. 99 Team Hero EBR 1190RS) and his Erik Buell Racing teammate, Aaron Yates (No. 20 Team AMSOIL/Hero EBR 1190RS), could be in position to turn some heads this weekend as well. While the track’s long front straight and high overall average speed of Miller Motorsports Park might not seem to suit the twin-cylinder EBR 1190RSs at first blush, its flowing corners and high elevation (which works as something of a natural traction control system) actually play to its strengths.
Last season, May and then-EBR pilot Eslick secured two positions on the front row. May backed up his qualifying form with a competitive fourth-place result.
Chris Fillmore (No. 11 KTM/HMC Racing KTM RC8R) and Taylor Knapp (No. 44 KTM/HMC Racing KTM RC8R) may be able to capitalize as well and come in on a high after demonstrating their best combined form of the season two weeks ago at Laguna Seca.
Larry Pegram (No. 72 Pegram Racing Yamaha YZF-R1) is currently battling through something of a midseason slump, but remains within three points of a top-five ranking due to his strong season opening.
And Australian David Anthony (No. 25 Motosport.com Motul Fly Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000) could once again give his factory-backed competition fits as the privateer has already notched up seven top-ten finishes this season.
For tickets to this weekend’s event at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah, please visit http://www.millermotorsportspark.com/events/ama-pro-road-racing-race.html.
Miller AMA SuperBike TV Schedule
Leading into coverage of GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Round 6 at Miller Motorsports Park, CBS Sports Network will broadcast the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike and AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike races from last weekend’s Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as part of the CBS Sports Spectacular in a primetime special on CBS Sports Network beginning Friday, August 2 at 7 p.m. EDT / 4 PDT.
Following the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca broadcasts, a primetime airing of the weekend preview show for the Miller Motorsports Park event will begin on Friday, August 2 at 9:30 p.m. EDT/6:30 p.m. PDT.
This weekend’s racing coverage will include three hours of LIVE broadcasts from Utah. AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Race 1 will air LIVE on Saturday, August 3 at 5 p.m. EDT/2 p.m. PDT and will be followed by a same-day delayed broadcast of AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike Race 1 slotted for 6 p.m. EDT/3 p.m. PDT.
Sunday’s coverage will include a two-hour block of LIVE coverage, beginning with GoPro Daytona SportBike Race 2 on Sunday, August 4 at 3 p.m. EDT/noon PDT followed by National Guard SuperBike Race 2 at 4 p.m. EDT/1 p.m. PDT.