PHOTOGRAPHY BY ANDREA WILSON
MONTEREY, CA, JULY 20 – Josh Hayes wasn’t the fastest AMA Superbike rider yesterday, the Monster Energy Graves Yamaha rider finding himself in the unfamiliar role of playing second best to Roger Lee Hayden. But today is when it counts and Hayes turned the table on his National Guard Suzuki rival, riding his R1 to a best of 1:24.853 to earn provisional pole for tomorrow’s race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in advance of this afternoon’s final qualifying session.
Hayden ended up second, the Michael Jordan Motorsports rider getting fast at the end and stringing together some laps that ended with his best of 1:25.003 with two minutes to go in the session. Hayden had been fastest yesterday with a 1:25.138.
Hayes’ teammate Josh Herrin also made a move late in the session, jumping to second with a 1:25.27 before being bumped down by Hayden. Herrin made a final go at it, bettering his time to a 1:25.198 at the end, but staying put in third place.
Martin Cardenas rode the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 to the fourth best time and a spot on the second row (they will use rows of three at Laguna Seca – like the MotoGP bikes they are sharing the weekend with) with his 1:25.579.
Cardenas is joined on the provisional second row by Michael Jordan Motorsports’ Danny Eslick and KTM’s Chris Fillmore.
“It seems to be going along about the same as last year,” Hayes said, referring to his pole position here a year ago, which was his eighth in a row. Last year Hayes’ best was a 1:24.446. “It got pretty tight in the first session. As soon as I start trying hard, I get pretty tight so it’s hard to relax and still figure out how to go faster. The bike’s working well and I think I still have some ideas on things we can improve. I’m looking forward to a little sunlight this afternoon for final qualifying. It’s such a busy weekend it’s a little tough to get some rest. I will try to get calmed down a little bit and see if I can continue on the trend that I’m doing and continue to improve as I did last year. Rog and Josh and a bunch of them are riding really well. Hopefully we can have a good afternoon session and prepare for the race.”
Superbike Qualifying 1
1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:24.853
2. Roger Lee Hayden (Suzuki) 1:25.003
3. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 1:25.198
4. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki) 1:25.579
5. Danny Eslick (Suzuki) 1:25.595
6. Chris Fillmore (KTM) 1:26.488
7. Aaron Yates (EBR) 1:26.642
8. Geoff May (EBR) 1:26.701
9. Larry Pegram (Yamaha) 1:26.892
10. Taylor Knapp (KTM) 1:27.017