Yates Ends It On Top

Paul Carruthers | February 3, 2010

Michael Jordan Motorsports’ Aaron Yates wasn’t a factor in yesterday’s opening day of the two-day test at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California, but he definitely made his mark today, ripping off a 1:23.77 to leave the test as the fastest of the Superbike men.Yates’ best lap was just fractions off Mat Mladin’s best from last year’s races at Auto Club Speedway when the Australian won both races. All the times for the test, however, were hand-timed and provided by the teams.Yoshimura Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden continued to stay at or near the top of the time sheets by finishing second today with his 1:23.9 with Foremost Ducati’s Larry Pegram either lapping at 1:23.94 or 1:24.1, depending on who was taking the times.Hayden, who like the rest of the Suzuki men are aboard 2009-model GSX-Rs, said using last year’s bike isn’t a bad thing.”It’s definitely easier to get to a respectable, decent time,” Hayden said this morning in regard to day one. “To start making gains on what we had before… then it gets tough again. That’s what we’re looking for. I got back to about as fast as I went on this bike pretty quick and then it starts getting tougher getting past that point. We made some gains, learned some stuff and things went pretty smooth and I was happy with the day. We did a lot of laps and everything went well. We were changing a lot of stuff and never completely went back to the best of what we had. We’d get to one fork and one shock, but never completely get all the best things back together. Hopefully, there’s more out there, but it doesn’t always work out like that. In theory it should.”Like a lot of the riders in attendance, Pegram was complaining of being a bit sore on day two of the test as most of the riders have been inactive as far as riding their Superbikes.”I’m feeling really sore today,” Pegram said. “I’m in pretty good shape. I’m not tired, but my back is sore and my muscles are sore. You can never replicate it and this place works you pretty hard. There’s a lot of straightaways, but the chicanes work you really hard. I think we’re going the same speed as yesterday, but the track slowed down a bit. I feel pretty good.”The rest of the top men were all close with Hayden’s Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Blake Young turning in a 1:24.2, Yamaha’s Josh Hayes doing a best of 1:24.3, Pat Clark Motorsports’ Ben Bostrom at 1:24.32 and National Guard Suzuki’s Jake Zemke at 1:24.7.That put the top seven within a second of each other by the end of the first and only test prior to next month’s Daytona Superbike doubleheader.

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.