2013 Miller AMA SuperBike: Herrin & Cardenas Share Wins

2013 Miller Motorsports Park AMA SuperBike Results

The 2013 AMA Pro Road Racing series headed to Toole, Utah, this past weekend for round six of nine.

And sharing wins in the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike Championship were Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Josh Herrin and Yoshimura Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas.

Both riders were able edge out the rider who led the series heading into Miller – Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes. The three-time SuperBike Champion finished 3-18 there, and fell to third in the points race.

Following Miller AMA SuperBike, Herrin has the lead with 264 points, nine ahead of Cardenas. Hayes is in third, 16 points behind.

2013 Miller Motorsports Park AMA SuperBike Race One Recap

The recent efforts made by AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike title contender Josh Herrin to elevate his game paid off in a huge way on Saturday at Miller Motorsports Park. The Monster Energy Graves Yamaha pilot came through in the clutch to defeat National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Roger Hayden and defending champion Josh Hayes in what must be considered the most thrilling premier-class contest of the 2013 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing season to date.

Ultimately, the race was decided due to a blend of decisive strategic decisions and courageous maneuvers.

While the majority of the frontrunners opted to run the medium tire, pole man Hayes elected to run the harder, dual-compound rubber. When the Mississippian managed to hold the lead pace early, the expectation was that he would eventually outlast Herrin and Hayden and pull clear as tire wear and the resultant mistakes knocked them out of contention.

However, Hayes’ game plan never fully materialized as he anticipated. Herrin controlled the race from first while Hayden consistently pressure the champion from behind, preventing Hayes from taking advantage of whatever edge in clear track pace he may have gained as the race wore on.

Demonstrating his recent strides, Herrin consistently maintained a strong pace at the front and successfully countered each and every attempt an increasingly desperate Hayes made to steal the position.

Hayes’ task was made all the more difficult due to the fact that Herrin and Hayden both held an advantage down the long front straight and into the Turn 1 left-hander, which proved to be the only reliable passing spot on the circuit.

After Hayes tried and failed to overtake Herrin several times, Hayden maneuvered ahead and took his turn. The Kentuckian drafted past Hayes on the front straight to open lap 13 of 16 and immediately set his sights on Herrin. Like Hayes, Hayden dove past Herrin only to see Herrin reclaim the position moments later.

Hayden pressured Herrin heavily over the race’s final lap but failed find a path by with Herrin storming home to his third career SuperBike victory by a scant 0.092 second margin at the checkered flag.

Hayes was relegated to the bottom step of the podium by 0.783 seconds in a race all too reminiscent of his ’11 battles with Blake Young and Tommy Hayden.

While the win was the third of Herrin’s SuperBike career, in a very real way it felt like his first (due to Hayes’ mechanical issues at Daytona and jump-start penalty at Mid-Ohio). The victory also saw Herrin close to within two points of the championship lead with just four races remaining this season.

The triumphant Herrin said, “It feels really good. I’ve been putting in a lot of hard work. It’s only been a month or a month-and-a-half and already paying off a bunch. Laguna and here are the first races in SuperBike where I haven’t gotten tired since I started. It feels awesome.

“I’ve just got to thank the whole Monster Energy Graves Yamaha crew for sticking behind me, especially today making our tire choice. I feel like we made a really good choice and it paid off in the end…Also, being able to stay out front the whole time and get the points for most laps led, I think that’s the first time I’ve been able to do that in three or four years. And to get my first win without Josh being out feels really good. Especially to get it here at Miller because I got my first (AMA Pro Road Racing) podium here and I have a lot of good memories. I always like coming here.

“With four races to go in the season, it’s huge motivation to get a win finally without anybody being out of the race. Going into the race tomorrow I’m going to be real hungry and full of confidence.”

“It’s a little bummer to be that close to winning,” runner-up Hayden admitted. “But I felt good. I made some attempts there on the last lap. I was watching the lap before to see where I was stronger. I really thought I got the bike stopped enough in Turn 5 and I didn’t want to out-brake him and overshoot it, but I got just wide enough that he was able to sneak back by me.

“I’ve got to really thank the team. We’ve struggled with top speed for a while. I think this is the first time in a while that I’ve drafted one of the blue bikes. All of their hard work paid off today and made the race a lot more fun. I’m going to make a few changes and try to do a little better tomorrow.”

Third-place finisher Hayes said, “It was a good race – it was a fun race. I had a good bike and rode as hard as I could. These guys had my number in a couple of areas, and I knew once we really got to racing and dicing around it was going to be tough. I rode the best that I could and they just beat me today. I have an idea for tomorrow and I think I can give myself a better shot at it. I’m going to come back and give these boys a race tomorrow.”

Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Martin Cardenas finished a lonely fourth. The Colombian managed to cling onto the lead group for the opening couple of circulations but quickly faded once he lost their tow. He ultimately finished nearly 15 seconds off the win.

Jordan Suzuki’s Danny Eslick was a similarly solitary fifth, running by himself pretty much throughout while a heated battle raged behind him for sixth.

Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing’s Larry Pegram held on to claim that position in the end. The Ohioan narrowly edged Motosport.com Motul Fly Racing’s David Anthony by 0.175 seconds for sixth with KTM/HMC Racing’s Chris Fillmore and Team Hero EBR’s Geoff May a further 0.213 and 0.335 seconds adrift in eighth and ninth position, respectively.

Fillmore’s KTM-mounted teammate, Taylor Knapp, completed the top ten.

Saturday’s dogfight lays the groundwork for an intriguing Sunday contest with Herrin, Hayden, and Hayes already considering their strategic approaches to Sunday’s rematch.

2013 Miller Motorsports Park AMA SuperBike Race 2 Recap

Saturday’s AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike thriller at Miller Motorsports Park was backed up by an even more shocking contest on Sunday – one that further raises the stakes heading into the final three SuperBike races of the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing season.

After failing to match the pace of the lead trio on Saturday, Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing’s Martin Cardenas thrust himself right back into the championship fight with a well-timed victory that came at the end of a full-tilt battle with National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Roger Hayden.

Following yesterday’s rare defeat, defending triple champion Josh Hayes was motivated to break the challenge of his rivals early and rip open an immediate (and necessary) gap in order to take his revenge in Sunday’s rematch. However, the Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha rider was perhaps a little too anxious to do so, crashing out of the lead while working lap 3 of 16.

Hayden, who was slowly closing in on Hayes after the Yamaha pilot had led him by more than a second following the completion of the race’s opening lap, inherited the lead at that point.

Herrin, meanwhile, was unable to repeat his Saturday heroics. The Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha SuperBike sophomore discovered an issue with his YZF-R1 on the sighting lap and found himself in the frustrating position of having to nurse his machine for the entire race distance in order to salvage as many points as possible for his title hopes.

With the Yamaha runners out of contention for the win, Cardenas stepped up and tracked down Hayden. The luckless Kentuckian encountered an issue with his machine, as well, which slowed his pace in the race’s later stages.

Cardenas and Hayden traded the lead several times late, with the Colombian ultimately holding the advantage despite some incredible overtaking attempts by Hayden.

The Michael Jordan Motorsports rider put his hand up with just two corners to go, signaling a problem. Cardenas powered on to the win while Hayden managed to just coast across the line ahead of third-placed Herrin, who had trailed him by more than six seconds. That narrow escape could prove to have massive title implications down the line as the championship race has taken on a most intriguing shape with the season quickly approaching its conclusion.

Race-winner Cardenas said, “It was a pretty hard race. At the beginning, these guys were a little bit faster up to the point when Josh crashed. Roger was pretty fast, and I was just trying my best to keep with him. I started to gain a little on him and when I got on his rear wheel, I stayed there for a couple laps and was thinking about doing a pass right at the end. It was a pretty tough race — I did my best, every lap as hard as I could. I passed Roger and he passed me back. He went a little deep, and I went back to his inside. I pushed that last lap because I knew he would try to pass me back, and I ended up winning. I’m very happy for me and the whole Yoshimura team.”

Runner-up Hayden was bitterly disappointed following another near-miss. “I’m not real sure what happened. It started with about six laps to go. It just started getting slower and slower out of the flat corners and really started backing in bad under the brakes. You know, the last lap, when I got on the throttle nothing was really happening. I don’t know what was happening – if it dropped a cylinder or was tying up or what. But, with about four laps to go, I really didn’t think I was going to finish.

“Obviously, I’m about as disappointed as you can get. I felt like I had the pace to win today.”

“Today was a lot different,” Herrin said, “I was just struggling to keep the bike off the ground. I don’t know what it was; we didn’t really change anything from yesterday. But I came in off the sighting lap and told the guys there was something up with the front tire because it was moving all over the place. We thought about getting on the backup bike…But we figured I would do better nursing a front tire than starting from the back of the field. So that’s basically what we did — just trying to do as well as we could and make the best out of it.”

Despite his problems, Herrin’s third-place finish allowed him to reclaim the points lead at 264, while the resurgent Cardenas is well within striking distance at 255.

After his front-end washout, Hayes picked his R1 back up and soldiered on to score three vital points with an 18th-place result, upping his tally to 248. Despite his Utah disappointment, Hayes’ 16-point deficit means that he remains in control of his own destiny, but with little room for error. He can guarantee himself a 20-point swing in the standings if he is able to collect maximum points at both the penultimate round at New Jersey Motorsports Park and the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca finale.

Hayes explained his crash, stating, “I was trying hard, and I fell down, you know? The front wasn’t very good and was giving me some warnings, even on the first lap. I was pushing on it, anyway. Yesterday, I didn’t think the front was all that good but I had been able to push on it and keep going. All the places it had given me indications that it was bad, Tooele Turn wasn’t one of them. I was going at it the same as I had. I don’t know or think that I had done anything different that lap but I had one that happened fast and it got away from me.”

Jordan Suzuki’s Danny Eslick pushed Herrin in the middle stages of the race before accepting a fine fourth-place result.

Team Hero EBR’s Geoff May rounded out the top five. He was followed by his Team AMSOIL/Hero teammate, Aaron Yates, who held off Motosport.com Motul Fly Racing’s David Anthony for sixth by 0.517 seconds at the flag. KTM/HMC Racing’s Taylor Knapp raced on track with Yates and Anthony but was credited with eighth after being assessed a five-second penalty for jumping the start.

Cardenas’ Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing teammate, Chris Clark, and Motosport.com/EBR’s Dustin Dominguez completed the race’s top ten.