LEXINGTON, OHIO, JULY 13 – Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes wants to erase the stain of last year’s Mid-Ohio doubleheader.
The 2011 event in central Ohio was the only one in which he wasn’t on pole, nor did he win either race; he was second and fourth.
This year’s different. Hayes arrived at the track riding a five-race winning streak that’s put him 37 points up on Blake Young (Yoshimura Suzuki) with eight races remaining.
Hayes took the provisional pole on a sunny day and slippery track with a lap time of 1:25.615. The time was better by .374 of a second than second fastest Steve Rapp (Attack Performance Kawasaki), with Hayes’ teammate Josh Herrin a narrow third to Rapp. National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Roger Hayden fills out the front row.
The lap was well off the 1:23.638 qualifying record set by Ben Spies in 2008 and not likely to be threatened. Not just because the motorcycles were faster and the tires better back then, but the track made Hayes and many others uncomfortable in first practice.
Conditions improved throughout qualifying, but peril lurks at every corner, on every seam, on every irregular surface. At the moment, it’s a one-line race track.
Hayes’ closest rival Young qualified fifth fastest and a second down on Hayes. Next to him on the provisional second row are Larry Pegram (Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing BMW), Team Amsoil Hero EBR’s Geoff May and Ben Bostrom on the second Jordan Suzuki.
AMA Superbike Qualifying Results:
1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:25.615
2. Steve Rapp (Kawasaki) 1:25.989
3. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 1:26.068
4. Roger Hayden (Suzuki) 1:26.476
5. Blake Young (Suzuki) 1:26.687
6. Larry Pegram (BMW) 1:26.708
7. Geoff May (EBR) 1:26.878
8. Ben Bostrom (Suzuki) 1:26.930
9. Taylor Knapp (Suzuki) 1:27.081
10. Danny Eslick (EBR) 1:27.678