FILE PHOTO BY BRIAN J. NELSON
MONTEREY, CA, JULY 18 – National Guard Suzuki’s Roger Lee Hayden and Yamaha’s Josh Hayes had a heated little five-minute battle at the end of the first practice session for the AMA Superbike class at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca today, the pair trading the top spot in the waning moments before Hayden took it for good at the very end.
When all was said and done it was Hayden’s 1:25.138 that took the top spot in what was the opening session for the Superbikes, which are running this weekend as the support event for the Red Bull United States Grand Prix.
With five minutes to go in the red-flag interrupted session, Hayden led. Then Hayes went to the top before Hayden responded again to set up tomorrow’s qualifying that will most certainly feature the two battling again.
“I had a good lap, but more importantly I was consistent,” Hayden said. “Consistently quick out of the gate, lead a session and I think that’s important for me to help my confidence. That’s what Josh does. He comes out and leads every session and I want to start leading some myself. Try to push him a little harder than he’s been pushed. It was definitely good. I did a 25.2 and a 25.1 so things are looking good so far. It’s only one session, but definitely a good way to start the weekend. It looked like we had a nice gap to the third-placed person so it looks like things are coming around pretty good so far this weekend. I told my guys yesterday if I didn’t lead the first session I was going to be really mad. I was going to be upset. As soon as they let us go, I just started pushing as hard as I could.”
Hayes’ teammate Josh Herrin, the winner of race two at Mid-Ohio last weekend, snuck into third place at the end of the session to displace Yoshimura Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas from the spot. Herrin lapped at a best of 1:26.061 – nearly a second slower than Hayden. Cardenas was fourth best with his 1:26.340.
1. Roger Lee Hayden (Suzuki) 1:25.138
2. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:25.242
3. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 1:26.061
4. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki) 1:26.340
5. Danny Eslick (Suzuki) 1:26.520
6. Taylor Knapp (KTM) 1:26.884
7. Chris Fillmore (KTM) 1:27.122
8. Aaron Yates (EBR) 1:27.157
9. Geoff May (EBR) 1:27.271
10. Larry Pegram (Yamaha) 1:27.393