Daytona Update: Roger Hayden Wins SuperBike Pole

Chicane once again key to speedway success.

Roger Hayden action shot

Roger Hayden qualified his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 on pole for the Daytona AMA Pro SuperBike events with a 1:37.674 that seemed to come from nowhere. Before this stunning lap, qualifying had seemed to be a clear push-and-shove between Cameron Beaubier and Josh Hayes, both on Graves Yamahas, but these men ended the session second and third, respectively.

In its efforts to limit high Superbike speeds, AMA Pro Racing had returned for 2014 to limited camshaft lift and added 10 pounds to the class minimum weight. Despite this, Beaubier had reached 203 mph on Thursday and 205 on Friday.

When I congratulated Yoshimura Suzuki Team Coordinator Rich Doan on Hayden's pole, he said, "What this is comes from how he's getting off the chicane. Going in, you cross the paint, the dirt, and the paint, and it's the same coming out, and the riders have been tentative there. But I think Roger decided to just do it." Because the chicane is a short diversion off the back straight onto a short infield loop and back on, the rider has to cross the edge of the track twice.

Carrying real speed out of the chicane is one of Daytona’s “keys to the city,” but who wants to gamble on getting the necessary grip from paint and dirt? But it was necessary for a pole lap. When I asked Hayden if this is what he had done, he replied, “That’s exactly what happened.”

He also added, “That’s what Hayes has been doing all along—he leaves ’em for dead there.”