Hayes on Pole in Sonoma

Henny Ray Abrams | May 15, 2010

SONOMA, CA, MAY 15: Team Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes will start the West Coast Moto Jam’s twin American SuperBike races from the pole position after setting fast time in Saturday morning’s overcast qualifying session.The Mississippian moved to the top when he became the first rider to dip into the ‘35’s with less than 15 minutes to go in the 30 minute session. The lap of 1:35.711 mins. was well under the 1:36.109 benchmark set by Ben Bostrom (Yam) in Friday’s qualifying session and a target for the rest of the 22-rider field.”The R1 is just quite honestly, it’s a joy to ride around here,” Hayes, who won his first Superbike race here last year, said. “It does things quite well around this racetrack.” Hayes added, “The R1 is tracking really well around the racetrack and making my job really easy. I’m sure the race is not going be that easy.”The rider who came closest to Hayes was Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young, but not without some drama. Young clocked a 1:35.798 to close within .067 secs. of Hayes before a massive crash in the Carousel, his second of the weekend. Young tumbled into the grass with his Suzuki GSX-R1000 cartwheeling and landing well up the hill on the outside of the turn. Young walked away and returned to the pits, but sat out the remaining few minutes of the session. On Friday, Young had high-sided in turn two on his second lap of practice, damaging his ‘A’ bike to the point that he had to ride his backup in qualifying.”We’ve been struggling quite a bit up to this point and I’m trying to get some really good clean laps around here,” Young, the only other rider in the 35’s, said. As to where he found the lap time, he said it was track time. “I’d say that’s where I found the time putting one together.”Young arrived late for the front row press conference, but said he was physically fine.”I feel pretty good,” he said. “Had a little jog all the way back. Ran out of time to get on the other bike.” As to the condition of his backup bike, he joked, “I think it’s ready to go.”Pat Clark Motorsports’ Ben Bostrom (Yam), the provisional pole sitter, qualified third fastest on the strength of his Friday time, which he didn’t approach on Saturday. Still, Bostrom was happy to be on the front row, which he said was crucial.”On this track it’s very important,” he said. “You definitely want to be in the front. If you get stuck behind one guy who bobbles on the first lap, the leaders will just go.”Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing’s Larry Pegram overcame a baffling front brake problem to qualify fourth. Pegram said the brake problem defied resolution, but that he and Brembo had tried every solution.”It’s not locking up the front wheel completely, it’s dragging really, really bad,” he said. “We cannot figure it out. We’ve been baffled. Brembo said nobody’s had that problem.”Brakes weren’t Pegram’s only problems. “Yesterday we blew the motor up and I know I could go fast enough to be on the front row, and we did,” Pegram said. “Job accomplished this morning, but it wasn’t a very fun session.”Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden led off an all Suzuki second row. Next to him were National Guard Suzuki’s Jake Zemke and Jake Holden, riding the Monster M4 Suzuki in place of the injured John Hopkins. Then came a gap of .8 secs. to another replacement rider, Canadian Brett McCormick. McCormick qualified the Jordan Suzuki in place of the injured Aaron Yates to the eighth fastest time.Monster M4 Suzuki’s Chris Ulrich was ninth fastest in front of Chris Peris on the Team Iron Horse BMW.


1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:35.711

2. Blake Young (Suzuki) 1:35.798

3. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha) 1:36.108

4. Larry Pegram (Ducati) 1:36.356

5. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) 1:36.474

6. Jake Zemke (Suzuki) 1:36.556

7. Jake Holden (Suzuki) 1:36.646

8. Brett McCormick (Suzuki) 1:37.449

9. Chris Ulrich (Suzuki) 1:37.864

10. Chris Peris (BMW) 1:38.182

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.