Hayes Gets First Superbike Pole

Henny Ray Abrams | July 17, 2009

Yamaha’s Josh Hayes took his first ever Superbike pole position with the fastest lap in Superpole at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, while perennial pole-sitter Mat Mladin (Rockstar Makita Suzuki) struggled to finish ninth.Starting third from last among the ten Superpole qualifiers, Hayes lapped the 2.4-mile road course in 1:26.303 mins., a time that was slower than his qualifying time. In fact, it was slower than the qualifying times of the top eight qualifiers.Some of that could be put to the track. Heavy rains fell after American Superbike qualifying, cleaning the track. There was a ten minute practice session prior to Superpole, but with only ten riders on track there was little hope they could lay down enough rubber to replace what had gotten washed away.In the end Hayes managed the conditions best to take the pole and the “one meter advantage” that comes with it.”It’s awesome,” Hayes said. “I’m happy to start on pole position, but at the end of the day we’re here to win races and they’re 21 laps long.”This is kind of tough. This is tough on all of us to line up cold and go out and just put in one flyer. Like I said, I’m glad to be starting on the front. I’ll take that one meter advantage, whatever it is, leading into the race, but we’ve got to put 21 of them together. That’s what we’re still focused on.Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates was .163 secs. behind in second with teammate Geoff May less than a tenth slower. Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden filled out the front row.Tenth fastest in qualifying, Hayden’s teammate Blake Young was the first out and lapped in 1:26.808. That was the mark Celtic Racing’s Michael Laverty was shooting for on his second ever Superpole lap and first at Mid-Ohio. Laverty dropped Young with a 1:26.753. Mladin was next.Mladin was the slowest of the three riders in all three sections, so it was no surprise that he finished with the slowest time of the three, a 1:27.456. But he wouldn’t be slowest in Superpole. Holden Racing’s Jake Holden used the seventh spot to lap .4 secs. slower than Mladin.Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing’s Larry Pegram started sixth and ended up third fastest of the finishers, with the top five yet to go.National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s May went straight to the top with a lap time that was .2 secs. better than Laverty’s. But there was little chance he would stay there, not with the four fastest yet to run.Yamaha’s Ben Bostrom wasted his qualifying effort by running the fourth fastest time of the first seven. He was likely to end up on row two.It didn’t take long. Third fastest qualifier Hayes (Yam) clocked the fastest time of the first eight to take the top spot. The two remaining riders were Tommy Hayden and Yates.Yates clocked the second fastest time to Hayes. Now it was up to Hayden.Hayden was third quickest in segment one, then fifth in segment two. It would take a great final segment to get it done and he didn’t. Hayes had the pole and Hayden was fourth.


1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:26.303

2. Aaron Yates (Suzuki) 1:26.468

3. Geoff May (Suzuki) 1:26.564

4. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) 1:26.740

5. Michael Laverty (Suzuki) 1:26.753

6. Blake Young (Suzuki) 1:26.808

7. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha) 1:26.898

8. Larry Pegram (Ducati) 1:27.050

9. Mat Mladin (Suzuki) 1:27.456

10. Jake Holden (Honda) 1:27.835

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.