Hayes on Provisional Pole at Miller Motorsports Park

Henny Ray Abrams | May 28, 2011

TOOELE VALLEY, UT, MAY 28 – Other than a small tip-over in the first corner, Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes had a rewarding opening Superbike qualifying session on the combined AMA/World Superbike weekend at Miller Motorsports Park.Hayes was already on top and trying to better his time when he fell over in the fast first turn left. Hayes was fortunate that the crash happened at the apex, where speeds are down and damage is minimized. Hayes finished out the session on his spare bike to claim the overnight pole position. With the threat of rain on Sunday, Hayes may have locked in the pole, and the point that goes with it, in advance of Monday’s lone Superbike race.Hayes finished with a best lap time of 1:50.401 mins., which was .150 of a second faster than second best Blake Young of the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team. Teammate Tommy Hayden and his brother, National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Roger Lee Hayden, fill out the provisional front row.

“You know how it is; just trying hard,” Hayes said of his first turn miscue. “Tipped over in turn one. Fortunately I was pretty far around, at probably the apex – the slowest part of turn one – before I fell. Thank God it didn’t happen on the way in, when I was still moving fast. The bike barely made it off the track into the gravel and able to pick it up and bring it in. Fortunately we had done our work before that, so already had a few good laps in the books. And, you know, it’s kind of the way it goes. Now we get qualifying again tomorrow. Hopefully we’ll get lucky and have some good weather, but if not then I’m in good shape.”Hayes said he’d ridden the spare YZF-R1 in the morning, and that it had a totally different set-up. After crashing he considered sitting out the rest of the session, but the team wanted to verify the set-up. “Make sure the bike’s just doing all the things it’s supposed to do, running good this and that,” he said. “We figured out a few things that we want to improve on that bike before tomorrow. They’re just little things that were different between the two; how the brakes felt, things like that. It was just a chance for us to run it in, make sure everything was right before we start.”This is the first year that the AMA and World Superbike riders are competing on the same course at MMP. Previously, the AMA raced on the 4.5-mile Full Course, while the WSB competed on the 3.05-mile Perimeter Course. Given the difference in the state of tune between the motorcycles, it wasn’t surprising that Hayes trailed early WBS pace-setter Carlos Checa by nearly 1.5 seconds.”To look at their speeds compared to ours, it gives me an idea that we must be doing something right, because our bike’s pretty simple compared to theirs and we’re getting around okay,” Hayes, who’d have finished 10th, between the Yamaha World Superbike riders, in the first World Superbike practice. “Hopefully Dunlop’s pretty happy with the performance that we’ve gotten out of the bikes and I’m still going to work hard and see if I can get in those elusive 49s and see if I can narrow the gap down on those guys a little bit.”

Superbike Qualifying:

1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:50.401

2. Blake Young (Suzuki) 1:50.551

3. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) 1:50.664

4. Roger Hayden (Suzuki) 1:51.196

5. Larry Pegram (BMW) 1:51.382

6. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki) 1:51.408

7. JD Beach (Kawasaki) 1:51.746

8. Chris Peris (BMW) 1:51.768

9. Geoff May (Buell) 1:51.963

10. David Anthony (Suzuki) 1:52.138


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.