Hayes Wins Daytona Opener

Paul Carruthers | March 16, 2012

DAYTONA BEACH, FL, MAR. 16 – When Josh Hayes says he can do 1:37s in a Superbike final at Daytona International Speedway, we should believe him. Hayes did just that today, the defending AMA Superbike Champion putting his head down and doing something that it’s not easy to do at Daytona – pull away and win from the front.

Hayes ruined what was expected to be a typically close Daytona Superbike race. He did so by being faster than the rest and ripping off lap times in the 1:37-range when no one else could. His fastest lap was a 1:37.490 on the fourth go-around and that followed a 1:37.854. Laps like that were enough to separate the Monster Energy Graves Yamaha rider from his pursuers and it was game over.

“It was a fantastic day,” Hayes said. “All the hard work from these boys over here… all those guys who have been working in the shop non stop have improved our bike so much over last year and today it showed. Hopefully, this is the first of many to come. Our bike was fantastic. If they can step up their game there’s more in there for us and we’ll keep trying to make it hard on them.”

Last year’s doubleheader Daytona winner Blake Young finished second on the Yoshimura Suzuki – 8.332 seconds behind. And he knew there was work to be done to catch up.

“I think we need to go back to the drawing board tomorrow and go up there and run with Josh,” Young said.

And Young had a gap of nearly eight seconds to third-placed Roger Lee Hayden on the National Guard Suzuki as this one was far from a barnburner.

“It’s a good way to start the season,” Hayden said. “We spent a lot of the off-season trying to close the gap to Josh and the other guys. It’s a little bit disappointing, but I can’t thank my guys enough.”

The only race in the race was the one for fourth with Larry Pegram and his Foremost BMW running down and beating motorcycle-superstore.com/Attack Racing’s Steve Rapp and beating him to the finish line by just .001 of a second.

Then came another yawning gap to Erik Buell Racing’s Geoff May, who in turn was well clear of the second BMW in the race, ridden by Jake Holden. Robertino Pietri, Young’s teammate Chris Young and Aussie Dave Racing’s David Anthony rounded out the top 10 finishers.

Of the top men, Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Josh Herrin and Michael Jordan Motorsports Suzuki’s Ben Bostrom both ran into problems. Herrin started fast and was in the lead pack when he ran off the track on the sixth lap and tipped over. He would rejoin, but ultimately pull out of the race. Bostrom, meanwhile, crashed while battling with Rapp. He remounted and finished 13th.

As he likes to do, Hayes got maximum points in this one, leading the most laps and also getting pole position earlier today. That’s 32 points after the first race of the season.

Daytona Superbike Race 1:

1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha)
2. Blake Young (Suzuki)
3. Roger Lee Hayden (Suzuki)
4. Larry Pegram (BMW)
5. Steve Rapp (Kawasaki)
6. Geoff May (EBR)
7. Jake Holden (BMW)
8. Robertino Pietri (Suzuki)
9. Chris Clark (Suzuki)
10. David Anthony (Suzuki)

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.