Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes Perfect on Pole

Henny Ray Abrams | June 23, 2012

Photography By: Andrea Wilson

LEEDS, AL, JUNE 23 – Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes was challenged for the pole position on a hot morning at Barber Motorsports Park, but the championship leader turned away the challenge to notch yet another pole as he tries to win his first Superbike race at the scenic track east of Birmingham.

Hayes put up a time of 1:25.487 mins. early in the session and the time looked unassailable. But then Jordan Suzuki’s Ben Bostrom came within .015 sec. of Hayes. That seemed to be the cue to get Hayes going. With less than seven minutes to go in the 40-minute session, he lowered his time to 1:25.202 mins., putting some ground on Bostrom. But Hayes’ teammate Josh Herrin was now in pursuit, running his best lap of 1:25.379 mins. using a two from Hayes. Bostrom was third with half a second on Team Amsoil/Hero EBR’s Geoff May.

The Yamaha riders were in the pits with under four minutes to go. Hayes stayed in the pits, but Herrin went back out for one final shot, which didn’t improve his time. That left Hayes on pole, Herrin second, then Jordan Suzuki teammates Ben Bostrom (1:25.502 mins.) and Roger Lee Hayden (1:26.033 mins.), who made his move late in the session.

With his sixth pole point of the year, Hayes moves 21 points ahead of Yoshimura Suzuki’s Blake Young, 258 to 237, in advance of this afternoon’s Superbike race. Hayes has won a number of races at Barber, and clinched two championships here, but he’s yet to win a Superbike race.

May slipped off the end of the front row to the row two pole in front of Young. Young’s Friday session had ended badly when a transmission glitch sent him off the track at high speed. He fell, but was unhurt. Performance’s Steve Rapp (Kaw) was .021 sec. behind Young in seventh and only .044 sec. up on eighth fastest Larry Pegram (Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing BMW).

Barber Superbike Qualifying:

1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:25.202
2. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 1:25.379
3. Ben Bostrom (Suzuki) 1:25.502
4. Roger Hayden (Suzuki) 1:26.033
5. Geoff May (EBR) 1:26.245
6. Blake Young (Suzuki) 1:26.400
7. Steve Rapp (Kawasaki) 1:26.421
8. Larry Pegram (BMW) 1:26.465
9. Chris Clark (Suzuki) 1:26.874
10. Danny Eslick (EBR) 1:26.937

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.