It’s still to early to predict if the new dumbed-down American Superbike class will provide closer racing than last year’s version, but if the final qualifying session heading to this afternoon’s Superpole session is any indication, things have tightened up at the top.The man who leads the pack into the one-lap Superpole session is Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden, the Kentuckian lapping at 1:38.212 to lead a top 10 that is separated by 1.5 seconds – though the top five are just separated by just .453 of a second.If the new rules were designed to thwart the factory Suzuki GSX-R1000s, that didn’t exactly pan out. At least not yet. Mat Mladin rode his GSX-R to the second quickest time, the Australian .207 of a second behind his Yoshimura teammate. Foremost Insurance Ducati’s Larry Pegram put the V-twin into third in the “basic qualifying” session, making him confident that he could put the Ducati on pole position during Superpole.Brit Neil Hodgson was next, the Corona Honda rider in the 1:38s – as were Michael Jordan Motorsports’ Aaron Yates and Yamaha’s Ben Bostrom, the pair ending up fifth and sixth, respectively.Josh Hayes put his Yamaha into seventh, besting the third of the Rockstar Suzukis – this one ridden by upstart Blake Young. National Guard Suzuki’s Geoff May and Celtic Racing’s Michael Laverty rounded out the top 10.
Qualifying1. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) 1:38.2122. Mat Mladin (Suzuki) 1:38.4193. Larry Pegram (Ducati) 1:38.4574. Neil Hodgson (Honda) 1:38.5905. Aaron Yates (Suzuki) 1:38.6656. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha) 1:38.8507. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:39.0448. Blake Young (Suzuki) 1:39.5489. Geoff May (Suzuki) 1:39.78210. Michael Laverty (Suzuki) 1:39.950