Photography By: Andrea Wilson
HOMESTEAD, FL, SEPT 23 - Monster Energy Graves Yamaha's Josh Hayes won the 2012 AMA Superbike Championship before the race even started. But just for good measure, Hayes went out on a wet but drying track and won decisively, carving his way through the field from a cautious start to win his 14th race of the season in the penultimate race of the season at Homestead-Miami Speedway
Hayes became the sixth rider to win three Superbike crowns when Yoshimura Suzuki's Blake Young, the only rider with a mathematical chance to beat Hayes, however slim, opted not to start the race. It wasn't immediately known why he didn't start, though it was likely because of the conditions.
With two Superbike races remaining, Hayes has 518 points to 401 for Hayes. Josh Herrin, the fourth place finisher, has 307 points.
The podium may have been the most senior ever. Hayes is the youngster at 37. Attack Performance's Steve Rapp, the second place finisher, is 38, as is third place finisher Ben Bostrom of the Jordan Suzuki team.
The race began with the sun baking the track, which had started to form a dry line from the earlier Daytona Sportbike race. Tire choice was critical. Some riders went with wets, others with intermediates. As the track dried, the tires on wets would suffer and a few were forced to pit, including Saturday's winner Roger Lee Hayden (National Guard Jordan Suzuki).
Team Amsoil Hero's Geoff May got out to an early start, losing it briefly to Team HMC/KTM's Chris Fillmore. Both would eventually suffer tire problems. May led until the 13th lap when he overshot a corner, handing the lead to Bostrom. Two laps later, Hayes was in the lead and flying. He'd go on to win by 4.787 secs. Bostrom was another 9.73 secs. back in third, then Herrin.
May landed in fifth, soldiering on as his bike did everything it could to pitch him off, the result of the worn tires. Then came Robertino Pietri on the Team Venezuela Suzuki, the final rider on the lead lap.
Homestead AMA Superbike Results:
1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha)
2. Steve Rapp (Kawasaki)
3. Ben Bostrom (Suzuki)
4. Josh Herrin (Yamaha)
5. Geoff May (EBR)
6. Roberto Pietri (Suzuki)
7. Bruno Silva (Kawasaki)
8. Chris Ulrich (Suzuki)
9. Sean Dwyer (Suzuki)
10. Roger Hayden (Suzuki)