LEXINGTON, OHIO, JULY 8 – Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes went to the top of the time sheets early in qualifying and stayed there.The Superbike championship leader put in a fast lap, then backed it up with two more that were nearly as fast. His best of 1:25.639 was run on the tenth lap, and gave him more than half a second cushion. Though he’d complete a total of 25 laps, that lap would stand up as the best.Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young came at Hayes late in the 50-minute session, but was slowed by a lapped rider, which kept intact Hayes’ record of being fastest in every qualifying session this year.
“We did our time fairly early in the session and we looked at the gap and I said, ‘Hey, let’s work on the motorcycle, let’s continue on this tire and put race distance on it and see what happens,'” he said. “‘If they catch us, that’s okay, we’ll just have to work on going faster tomorrow.’ Sounds like Blake [Young] had a good lap going that was probably going to be good enough and got balked up a little bit. So fortunately for me, I was able to do a pretty good string of laps.”That gave Hayes the provisional pole and put him on pace to take his sixth pole in six tries, and add a point to his championship lead.San Diego BMW’s Steve Rapp was second fastest late in the session when Young put in his flyer that was only .074 of a second off Hayes’ time. That put Young in second and Rapp third, from where he’d continue to drop. National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Roger Lee Hayden clocked his fastest lap in the final four minutes to take third and his brother, Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden, made a late run up the order to take fourth, nudging Rapp to fifth by .005 of a second.Foremost Insurance’s Larry Pegram was just behind Rapp and in front of M4 Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas. Jordan Suzuki’s Ben Bostrom was at the end of the provisional second row.The final two riders in the top 10 were Team Iron Horse BMW-ESP’s Chris Peris and Chris Fillmore in his Superbike debut on the KTM/HMC Racing KTM RC8R.
Superbike Qualifying:1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:25.639
2. Blake Young (Suzuki) 1:25.713
3. Roger Lee Hayden (Suzuki) 1:26.093
4. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) 1:26.146
5. Steve Rapp (BMW) 1:26.151
6. Larry Pegram (BMW) 1:26.300
7. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki) 1:26.380
8. Ben Bostrom (Suzuki) 1:26.562
9. Chris Peris (BMW) 1:27.534
10. Chris Fillmore (KTM) 1:27.384
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