BRASELTON, GA, APRIL 17: Team Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes recovered from a jump start to take a controversial win in Saturday’s American Superbike race at Road Atlanta.Hayes clearly jumped the start and was soon assessed a stop-and-go penalty, which he had to serve within three laps. The Mississippian came into the pits at the end of the fourth lap and, soon after, the race was red flagged. But he never actually served the stop-and-go before the race was stopped. Yoshimura Suzuki was expected to protest the decision.Though Hayes was in fifth as he rolled down the pit lane, and certain to fall well down the order, scoring reverted to the end of the third lap when he was leading. That put him in the lead and on the pole for the re-start.For the final 17 laps the race was among Hayes, Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young, Jordan Suzuki’s Jake Zemke, and Young’s teammate Tommy Hayden, who was in the lead when the race was stopped.Young took the lead from Hayes with a pass in turn one on the 13th lap. Hayes would lose second to Zemke on the 14th.Hayes moved back into second with a pass of Zemke into turn six, the first of the double rights at the far end of the circuit. Zemke fought back, but Hayes then re-took the spot with an inside pass into turn ten.On the final lap, Hayes used the same spot to come past on the brakes for the lead. Young came back at him, but Hayes would not be denied his first victory of the year.The margin of victory was .183 secs.”If I were in their seat I would say the guy deserves a penalty,” Hayes said. “Like I said: I didn’t make the ruling. I got a gift today. The ruling kinda went in my favor this time and I got lucky with that”Hayden confirmed Hayes’ suspicions. “I think that he didn’t get a penalty. He jumped the line, he didn’t a penalty,” Hayden said. “Josh, he earned the win on the race track. He rode a great race. He earned it on the track. But I feel like he jumped the start. He jumped the start; deserves a penalty. As it worked out, he didn’t get a penalty. So that’s my opinion.”A very similar thing happened to me at Laguna last year, almost identical. I had to come into the pit. They made me stop. So the whole thing was they’re going to have consistency, that’s the whole new thing. I don’t see the consistency with this subject.”Hayden passed Zemke going into turn six on the final lap to secure the final podium spot.Pat Clark Motorsports’ Ben Bostrom was alone in fifth, having lost touch with the leaders as the race progressed.Results:1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha)2. Blake Young (Suzuki)3. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki)4. Jake Zemke (Suzuki)5. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha)6. John Hopkins (Suzuki)7. Chris Ulrich (Suzuki)8. Taylor Knapp (Suzuki)9. Chris Clark (Yamaha)10. Barrett Long (Ducati)
Hayes Steals a Win
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.