HAYDEN ON TOP AT HOMESTEAD-MIAMI SPEEDWAY
Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha's Cameron Beaubier won provisional pole for AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday (photo courtesy: Brian J. Nelson, AMA Pro Racing)
The inclusion of Homestead-Miami Speedway to the 2012 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing schedule after more than 15 years away not only brought some different scenery to the series but a change of pace atop the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike order as well, at least for the day.
Two-time series champion Josh Hayes has gone the entire 2012 campaign without suffering a qualifying defeat, but he was provisionally out-paced on Friday at the Triumph Big Kahuna Miami presented by Dunlop Tire and LeoVince by National Guard Jordan Suzuki's Roger Hayden.
Hayden put his head down from the session's earliest stages, throwing down a hot lap of 1:22.746 aboard his #54 GSX-R1000 prior to the arrival of the afternoon rain which spoiled the bulk of the session.
While something of an upset considering Hayes' 2012 qualifying record, Hayden's Homestead-Miami speed did not come as a particularly big surprise, having previously been confirmed at the 2.21-mile speedway in testing.
The same can be said of Hayden's teammate, Ben Bostrom. The Jordan Suzuki man completed a provisional qualifying 1-2 for the team after the duo pulled the same trick (in reverse order) when the series tested here back in March. Bostrom was just a tick off Hayden's time, registering a 1:22.857 aboard the #23 GSX-R1000.
After claiming provisional pole, Hayden said, "The session was cut pretty short due to the weather, but I definitely felt better his afternoon. We made some changes to the bike to try to get some more grip and we worked at getting up to speed pretty quick and it paid off with the weather that came in. Even though it was cut short, it's still pretty nice to be on provisional pole -- I've never been on provisional pole in SuperBike.
"We've been pretty quick all weekend and we've tested here a few times. We still have to improve a little bit because I know those guys are going to go faster, but for right now we're on pace and looking forward to tomorrow."
Hayden has made it known all season long that his goal is to win a race before the year is out. He's running short on chances but Homestead-Miami Speedway and the finale at NOLA Motorsports Park might just represent his two best chances of the entire season.
"There are only four more shots at it, and they're two tracks I've tested well at," he said. "Besides New Jersey, we've had pretty good speed the couple of races leading into that and New Jersey I think the rider just wasn't performing. So these last next races are really important; my goal is to win a race and that's what I'm working toward. I think that shows. In qualifying, my first flying lap was quicker than I went this morning. I've definitely got my head in the game this weekend and we're still working hard to accomplish that goal. And at the end of the season, it's when teams are looking around and I'm riding for a job I'd say."
Hayes, meanwhile, ranked third on Friday. The Mississippian topped the order in the morning free session aboard his #1 Monster Energy Graves Yamaha YZF-R1 before posting a 1:23.061 in the opening minutes of basic qualifying to claim a spot on the provisional front row.
Depending on tomorrow morning's weather conditions, Friday's times could stand and Hayden's early strength just might prevent SuperBike history; Hayes is currently riding a streak of 11 consecutive pole positions, even for best all-time with Mat Mladin's run from '05-'06.
Meanwhile, the only man remaining with even a remote mathematical chance of beating Hayes for this year's crown, Blake Young, was fourth fastest on Friday. The Yoshimura Suzuki pilot has struggled somewhat in qualifying as of late, failing to qualify on the front row since Road America, although he has still racked up five podium results over that span.
Team Hero EBR's Danny Eslick was fifth quick on the day aboard the exotic EBR 1190RS. M4 Suzuki' Chris Ulrich notched up an impressive sixth-best time, one spot ahead of Eslick's teammate, Geoff May, on the #99 Team Amsoil/Hero EBR. The final spot on the provisional second row went to Team Venezuela's Robertino Pietri.
A stacked Row 3 sees Hayes' Yamaha teammate, Josh Herrin, Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing BMW's Larry Pegram, Kneedraggers.com/Motul/Fly Racing's David Anthony, and AMA Pro SuperBike legend Aaron Yates on the EvanSteelPerformance.com BMW S1000RR.
AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike
Y.E.S./Graves/Yamaha's Cameron Beaubier won provisional pole for AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday. Beaubier led the session by more than a second, putting the rare bit of single-rider domination in a class known for a deep and competitive field. The young rider's best mark (1:24.645) was 1.149 seconds ahead of Martin Cardenas of the GEICO Suzuki team. Jake Gagne was third for RoadRace Factory/Red Bull.
"From the get-go in practice, my bike felt awesome. We didn't make too many changes. I felt comfortable," said Beaubier. "The weather was messing with us a little bit."
The wide margin for Beaubier was one of the larger ones since GoPro Daytona SportBike began in 2009. "I was kinda surprised it was that big a margin," Beaubier continued. "Hopefully I get to keep moving in the right direction."
Cardenas currently leads the series points, with a 76-point margin over teammate Dane Westby (M4 Suzuki).
Gagne, a young rider who has flashed potential this season but has had terrible luck at times, ran strongly in third for most of the 50-minute session.
Jason DiSalvo, on his Latus Motors Racing-branded Triumph 675R, pipped Bobby Fong (Meen Motorsports) for fourth late in the session.
AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport
James Rispoli and Dustin Dominguez have had many on-track battles this year and had another at Homestead-Miami Speedway on Friday, with Rispoli (Orient Express Celtic Racing) emerging out from with just a 0.04-seconds ahead of Dominguez (Latus Motors Racing Triumph) to take provisional pole for AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport. Rispoli was strong in the session as the defending series champ nearly topped his best lap on the final time around.
"The track was a little slick. I really made a pretty big mistake and was surprised to see a 1:26.0," said Rispoli. "I was trying to send a message to say I'm still here and we're putting on the pressure. I'm trying to pull the double and win the surfboard."
Tomas Puerta (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull) and Jake Lewis (Riders Discount Vesrah Suzuki) join Domninguez and Rispoli on the provisional front row.
Stefano Mesa (Kneedraggers.com) lists Boca Raton, FL as his American base and was able to earn fifth on Friday.
Television Coverage, AMA Pro Live Streaming Video Experience, Live Timing & Scoring and Social Media Channels
SPEED will air the National Guard SuperBike and GoPro Daytona SportBike races in a set of back-to-back, same-day delayed broadcasts. Saturday's race finals will begin at 12:00 midnight ET/9:00 p.m. PT late Saturday night, September 22 and Sunday's races will be broadcast beginning at 12:00 midnight ET/9:00 p.m. PT late Sunday night, September 9. SPEED2 will stream the Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport and Vance & Hines XR1200 Series races live, fans can watch by logging onto http://www.speed2.com. SPEED2 is a broadband service available to customers of Time Warner, Bright House Networks, Cablevision, DISH and Cox. For more information and instructions on gaining access to all of this season's AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport and AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series races, please review the SPEED2 FAQ located at http://www.speed2.com/faq.
AMA Pro Live, the online streaming video experience launched earlier this season, will be broadcasting views from around the track this weekend. Tune in at http://www.amaprolive.com.
GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Live Timing & Scoring presented by Cortech offers fans real-time access to results from on-track sessions at http://live.amaproracing.com/rr/. Between the races, stay connected with GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing at www.twitter.com/AMAProSBK and www.facebook.com/AMAProRoadRacing.