File Photography By Brian J. Nelson
MONTEREY, CA, SEPT. 27 – Josh Hayes knows that the AMA Superbike Championship is out of reach, but it didn’t stop the Monster Energy Graves Yamaha rider from going about his business today in the opening day of qualifying for Sunday’s lone AMA Superbike race.
Hayes led the field with his 1:24.249, the three-time defending AMA Superbike Champion ripping off his best lap on his 21st lap and then following it up a lap later with a 1:24.675 – the second best lap of the session. When all was said and done Hayes led Yoshimura Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas to earn provisional pole with the Colombian turning in a 1:24.694.
“Qualifying went pretty smooth,” Hayes said. “We’ve gotten up to speed well. It look us longer to get down to times close to this on the MotoGP weekend. I think the weather and what’s been going on at the track, the grip is really good and so far everything is going really smooth. I got tight the last time we were here in my arms and I got tight in at Jersey when I tried to up to speed super fast so I’ve been taking my time and rolling around and getting up to speed.”
Hayes qualified on pole in the July round with a 1:24.507 – slower than the 1:24.446 he qualified on pole with in 2012. Today he bettered both those marks.
Surprisingly it was Chris Fillmore slotting the HMC KTM into third, the Michiganite almost getting into the 1:24s with his 1:25.192 on his 17th lap. Team Hero EBR’s Geoff May was fourth.
Fifth went to champion-elect Josh Herrin, the second Monster Graves Yamaha rider suffering a lowside crash in turn three. Fortunately, the Georgian escaped injury in what was his first crash of the season.
“I’m really mad at myself because that’s the first time I’ve fallen all year,” Herrin said. “There were about 10 minutes left to go in the session and I hadn’t really started clicking off fast laps. I’m glad we’ve got another qualifying session tomorrow.
Despite losing a lot of the end of the session, Herrin’s best was still enough to top Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing’s Larry Pegram with David Anthony, Taylor Knapp, Cory West and Aaron Yates rounding out the top 10 on the first day of qualifying.
Superbike Qualifying 1 Results
Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca
September 27, 2013
1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:24.249
2. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki) 1:24.694
3. Chris Fillmore (KTM) 1:25.192
4. Geoff May (EBR) 1:25.248
5. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 1:25.257
6. Larry Pegram (Yamaha) 1:25.714
7. David Anthony (Suzuki) 1:25.801
8. Taylor Knapp (KTM) 1:26.058
9. Cory West (EBR) 1:26.131
10. Aaron Yates (EBR) 1:26.435