BIRMINGHAM, AL, JUNE 18 – Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes kept his perfect qualifying record intact by taking his fifth pole of the season late on a hot morning at Barber Motorsports Park.
Having taken the provisional pole, Hayes was in control from the start, though it took him a while to get going. Near the halfway mark he strung together a series of 1:26’s, none of which was close to his Friday time. He pitted soon after.
Hayes returned to the track just past the halfway mark in the 40-minute session and on his first flyer out of pits he lapped at 1:26.984 mins. The next lap was 1:26.814, then a 1:26.485 before he returned to the pits.
National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Roger Lee Hayden went into third overall, and second in session, at the 12:40 remaining mark with a lap of 1:26.542 mins., but barely long enough to enjoy it before his brother Tommy (Rockstar Makita Suzuki) dropped him to third in session with a lap of 1:26.186 mins. Still, no one was faster than Hayes’ Friday time, and now he was in the pits with just under 12 minutes remaining.
Tommy Hayden set his fastest time with just over eight minutes to go, a time that was fastest in session. Hayes had just pitted and was about to start his final pole run.
On his first flying lap out of the pits, Hayes set the fastest lap time of the weekend, a 1:25.942. His next lap was in the 1:26s. The splits on his following lap were impressive and rightfully so; they added up to an even faster lap of 1:25.911 mins. that would stand up as the weekend’s best.
Hayden was now .171 secs. back with his brother, Roger Lee (National Guard Jordan Suzuki), third. Tommy Hayden’s last lap of 1:26.054 mins. was his best, but it fell short of the pole time. He would start second.
Team Iron Horse BMW-ESP’s Chris Peris jumped up to third in the final minute with a lap of 1:26.530 mins. that would mark his best Superbike qualifying position. That moved Roger Lee Hayden to the end of the front row.
Hayes’ fifth pole point of the season put him up by 11, 192 to 181, over Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young, fifth fastest in qualifying.
Next to Young on row two are M4 Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas, who improved two spots from Friday, San Diego BMW’s Steve Rapp, and Ben Bostrom on the second Jordan Suzuki.
1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:25.911
2. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) 1:26.054
3. Chris Peris (BMW) 1:26.530
4. Roger Lee Hayden (Suzuki) 1:26.542
5. Blake Young (Suzuki) 1:26.671
6. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki) 1:26.679
7. Steve Rapp (BMW) 1:26.751
8. Ben Bostrom (Suzuki) 1:26.763
9. Larry Pegram (BMW) 1:27.053
10. Geoff May (Buell) 1:27.088