2014 Laguna Seca AMA Pro SuperBike Results
Three-time AMA Pro SuperBike champion Josh Hayes took another major step toward updating that descriptor to ‘four-time’ on Sunday afternoon at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca as he closed out the GEICO Motorcycle U.S. Round with a convincing victory, his fourth in a row.
The Monster Energy Graves Yamaha ace, racing on the No. 4 Yamaha R1, moved past the holeshooting Martin Cardenas on the 23-lap race’s opening circulation. The contest was pretty much decided at that point, save for 18 more precision laps executed at breakaway speed. The race was red flagged and called official with 19 laps complete due to a crash by rider Marcel Irnie.
Hayes’ biggest challenge figured to come from rookie teammate Cameron Beaubier, who opened the race from the front of the grid after claiming his second pole position of the 2014 season on Saturday. However, the 21-year-old failed to capitalize on his prime starting position at launch and was shuffled back to fourth, corralled behind Cardenas and his Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing teammate, Roger Hayden, while Hayes eked out a gap in front.
Beaubier found his way into third on lap 4 and then moved into second on the following circuit, but by then he already trailed Hayes by more than two seconds.
Beaubier demonstrated similar pace at that point but was unable to make significant progress whittling away at the gap, and the consistent 39-year-old eventually wore him down.
Hayes boasted a commanding multi-second advantage with just three laps remaining when the race was red flagged and ultimately called complete. The win is the 46th of Hayes’ remarkable career and his fourth in succession, both on the season and at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
As a result, Hayes now leads the title chase with more than a full race’s points allotment in hand and only four contests left in play. Two of those races will take place next weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and it’s not inconceivable that he could lock up the crown as early as Sunday.
“What a beautiful day,” said Hayes after claiming his fifth win of the season. “I can promise you it’s never as easy as it looks. The last few laps I was actually having a pretty hard time. I was just trying to stay focused which can be pretty hard to do when you’re riding by yourself. Cameron had a little carrot out there in front of him. I didn’t have much to look at. I was more running like a scared rabbit, looking at the pit board. It’s a little bit of a different game.”
Beaubier was credited with second while Hayden, who passed Cardenas while working lap 7, came in third. With his runner-up result, Beaubier now moves into second in the points as well, 40 back of Hayes (175-135), and one up on Hayden in third.
“I think I rode OK,” said Beaubier. “I got a pretty rough start and was behind Rog and Martin and was able to pass them. But by that time Josh already had a second or two. I put my head down and started clicking off the laps. Overall, I’m pretty happy to get out of here with second place, especially after the weekend I had at Barber, throwing a couple bikes down the road. It’s good to get some confidence back heading to Mid-Ohio.”
Hayden was hoping for a little more than third, but was happy with his day overall.
“I got a decent start but the first couple of laps I was having trouble getting by Martin,” said Hayden. “Then Cam got by me and he got Martin. Finally, I got by Martin and I was trying to catch Cam in the middle of the race. I was starting to make inroads but the last couple of laps I was starting to make a couple mistakes because I was pushing pretty hard. That was pretty much it. It was a pretty good ride for me – Barber didn’t go very good so I feel like this was a bit of a rebound.”
Once it settled in, the race took on a processional shape with more than a second’s worth of padding separating every rider in the top ten – most of those gaps near the ten-second range.
KTM/HMC Racing’s Chris Fillmore finished in fifth behind Cardenas, while ADR Motorsports/Sic/Motul Fly Racing’s David Anthony suffered his first finish outside the top five all season long in sixth.
Team AMSOIL Hero EBR’s Cory West and Proto-Tech Spain Yamaha’s Bernat Martinez took seventh and eighth, respectively, while third Yoshimura pilot Chris Clark and Porter Racing Kawasaki’s Sebastiao Ferreira completed the top ten.
Hayes will now take his mammoth championship lead and all the momentum across the country into the Buckeye SuperBike Weekend from Mid-Ohio in just a few days’ time.