LEXINGTON, OHIO, JULY 9 – Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young ended the perfect qualifying season of Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes and closed to within a single point of the championship leader with his first pole of the season at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.Hayes held the provisional pole and improved on his Friday time about 13 minutes into the 20-minute session, with Young holding onto second. Then, with about seven minutes to go, Young shot to the top. His lap of 1:25.025 would be the new target and Hayes would later say his attempts to better Young’s marks were frustrating. Instead he came in, tried a few practice starts, and began to think about race strategy.
The pole was third of Young’s career and gave him 234 points to 235 for Hayes ahead of today’s race, the first of the seven Superbike races remaining. It was also the first time all season that someone other than Hayes had led a qualifying session.Young missed last year’s race at Mid-Ohio after breaking his back in a testing crash and was wary of returning after a two-year absence.”I’d say this weekend was pretty tough for me mentally to come in, pretty optimistic about the weekend after taking the year off last year, so not sure on how I would be around here, but definitely had the confidence in my team,” he said. “This year has just been tremendous. I feel like they’ve finally gotten me to the point, me and the bike, to where we can show up pretty much anywhere and put in a decent effort and it just shows for this weekend.”Hayes was aware of Young’s time and “tried for three or four laps to find something clear and put something together and turns out 25.3 is about the best that I had, so I just came in a practiced a few more starts.”The front row had a few new visitors, with National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Roger Lee Hayden qualifying a season best third and Larry Pegram (Foremost Insurance BMW) making his first front row appearance after a productive test last week in Pennsylvania.
“Nobody wants to battle with these guys worse than us,” Hayden said. “So it’s a little bit of the bike a little bit of myself, just a little bit of everything.”Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden qualified on the row two pole in front of San Diego BMW’s Steve Rapp, Jordan Suzuki’s Ben Bostrom, and Chris Peris on the Team Iron Horse BMW-ESP S 1000 RR.Barber Motorsports Park winner Martin Cardenas (M4 Suzuki) was ninth with Chris Fillmore an encouraging 10th on the HMC/KTM Racing KTM RC8R.
1. Blake Young (Suzuki) 1:25.025
2. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:25.361
3. Roger Lee Hayden (Suzuki) 1:25.459
4. Larry Pegram (BMW) 1:25.759
5. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) 1:25.854
6. Steve Rapp (BMW) 1:25.857
7. Ben Bostrom (Suzuki) 1:26.064
8. Chris Peris (BMW) 1:26.205
9. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki) 1:26.380
10. Chris Fillmore (KTM) 1:26.911Have you seen this week’s digital issue of Cycle News?… check it out here. http://cyclenews.coverleaf.com/cyclenews/