AMA ProSbk: Hayes Fans the Flames in SuperBike as Racing Kicks Off at U.S. Grand Prix

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AMA Press Release:

The streaking Josh Hayes carried his AMA Pro Road Racing chart-topping ways at Laguna Seca. Hayes threw down a blistering 1:25.991 to set the pace in Friday's AMA Pro SuperBike free practice on the opening day of the U.S. Grand Prix.

Hayes is on an historic tear, having claimed seven consecutive victories while scooping up every available pole position along the way.

To further that streak, the Yamaha ace will need to break new ground this weekend and claim his first-career AMA Pro SuperBike victory at the fabled road course. That shouldn't be considered an impassable obstacle, however, as the Mississippian has already broken through at Daytona International Speedway, Road Atlanta, Miller Motorsports Park and Barber Motorsports Park this season alone.

Despite ending the day on top, Hayes didn't control the session throughout. Suzuki's Roger Hayden, who pushed the two-time champ to the limit last time out at Mid-Ohio, actually sat atop the order for much of the session.

Hayes' foray into the '24s pushed him ahead of Hayden, but not by much. The Kentuckian was second-best at 1:25.262.

"My lap times are pretty good; we're faster than we were this time last year," Hayes said. "The potential is there in the motorcycle to go a lot faster. We tried some things in the very beginning that got me extremely tight on the motorcycle, and I ended up getting myself all worked up. I wasn't very happy with the second half of my session, and I felt like I wasn't able to do a very good job for the guys. But I'm confident we'll be able to look at things and make improvements for tomorrow. I'm confident I'll be able to come back and relax, and get back into the swing of things tomorrow."

Commenting on his quest for a first SuperBIke win at Laguna Seca, Hayes said, "Quite honestly, I don't look at this place and say 'Oh, I haven't won here,' because the last two years here, it's been me and one other person. Last year, this was my track; I had it covered but Tommy (Hayden) beat me. He just played the game right and got me at the end. I don't feel pressure coming here -- I've been racing for the win the past two years. I'm just going to try to do what I did at Ohio -- go through the motions and stick to my routine. When I do that, things work out for me."

EBR's Geoff May was next-best, outpacing Laguna Seca genius Ben Bostrom to lay claim to third-best in the session behind Hayes and Hayden.

May hustled his way around the roller coaster-like circuit with a quick time of 1:25.540 to move ahead of Suzuki's Bostrom, who has multiple AMA Pro and World Superbike Mazda Raceway wins to his credit.

Suzuki's Chris Clark was an impressive fifth-quickest at 1:26.020, faster than teammate Blake Young (10th, 1:26.509) and Hayes' teammate, Josh Herrin (7th, 1:26.070).

Another rider who turned heads was Jake Holden in sixth, riding the Redline Motorsports Honda CBR1000RR. Holden winged his way to a 1:26.063 on the new SuperBike.

May's teammate, Danny Eslick, and Suzuki's Taylor Knapp also ran in the top ten, ranked ninth and tenth, respectively.

The AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike heroes will qualify on Saturday in preparation of Sunday's 23-lap contest.

Current Superbike Standings:

1     Josh Hayes

2     Blake Young

3     Josh Herrin

4     Roger Hayden

5     Geoff May

6     Larry Pegram

7     Steve Rapp

8     Danny Eslick

9     Ben Bostrom

10     Chris Clark

11     David Anthon

12     Chris Ulrich

13     Chris Fillmore

14     Robertino Pietri

15     Jordan Burgess

16     Taylor Knapp

17     Stefan Nebel

18     Trent Gibson

19     Jake Holden

20     Johnny Rock Page

21     Reese Wacker

22     Jason Farrell

23     Shawn Higbee

24     Sean Dwyer

25     Tim J. Bemisderfer

26     Eric Pinson

27     Eric Haugo

28     Reno Karimian

29     Jeffrey Lampe

30     Lloyd Bayley

31     Tony Porter

32     Chris Siglin

AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike

Martin Cardenas led the way in the sole AMA Pro SportBike practice session of the day on Friday. The Suzuki pilot topped the time-sheets with a lap of 1:27.952 at Laguna Seca, narrowly bettering Tommy Hayden's mark of 1:28.004. Hayden, bettered his teammate Cameron Beaubier, who was third-quickest.

Cardenas and Hayden, two veterans and former class champions who often ride together in practice sessions, set the pace in the hour-long session, with both having led. In recent races, class upstarts like Beaubier and Dane Westby (Suzuki) have taken much of the attention and wins.

Cardenas has six wins in 2012, but he hasn't won in four races. Hayden, who has concentrated on the SuperBike class in recent years, has yet to win after joining Yamaha as an injury replacement at Daytona.

Beaubier crashed in turn ten early in the session and, fortunately, was unhurt. Cameron got his backup machine to third on the day.

Ducati's Jake Zemke was fourth, just ahead of Westby and Jake Gagne. Tommy Aquino, was eighth-fastest.

Absent from the class on Friday was Jason DiSalvo, who is transitioning to a recently announced Triumph team that will make its debut at the New Jersey Motorsports Park round.

AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport

Dustin Dominguez continued his strong run on Friday in provisional qualifying in AMA Pro SuperSport. Dominguez, who won the last two class races at Mid-Ohio two weeks ago, set the quick time in the 40-minute session over Hayden Gillim and James Rispoli. Jake Lewis rebounded from his subpar Mid-Ohio event to join them on the provisional front row.

Corey Alexander was fifth, ahead of Garrett Willis. Willis led the early going in qualifying before Dominguez took the top spot.

For more information: www.amaproracing.com