ELKHART LAKE, WI, JUNE 2 - Monster Energy Graves Yamaha's Josh Hayes dropped the hammer with about 14 minutes to go in Superbike qualifying to set a new lap record, then lowered it to take a no doubt fifth pole position in a row at the Subway Superbike Doubleheader at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Hayes has been dominant in qualifying all season and this weekend is no different. Having taken the provisional pole with a time that was nearly a lap record, Hayes improved on the time to go to 2:11.333 mins., the best ever qualifying time. The fastest ever lap of Road America (2:11.208 mins.) was set by Mat Mladin in the second Superbike leg in 2006.
"It's pretty cool," Hayes said. "It's like I said yesterday, it's a good show of how far the technology's come in that few years that we're so much closer to a Superstock-spec machine.
"And Dunlop's still giving us good rubber and we're able to chip away at that. And I guess you wouldn't think this would be the track where something like that would happen, but then again, with just the hard braking and stuff like that maybe it is kinda the kind of track where it would work out.
"I'm happy with how things are going. It's really cool to get that. But my primary thing is still just to try to make sure I can stay out in front and beat these boys."
With just over seven minutes to go, Yoshimura Suzuki's Blake Young took over second with a lap of 2:12.908 mins., a gap of 1.575 sec. to Hayes. MotorcycleSuperstore.com/Attack Performance's Steve Rapp put the Kawasaki into third soon after, dropping Jordan Suzuki's Ben Bostrom to fourth.
But Rapp wouldn't improve his time and lost out on third to Monster Energy Graves Yamaha's Josh Herrin, who'd been second on Friday. Herrin improved his overnight time, but just barely; by .008 sec.
That put him third on the grid in front of Bostrom, whose Saturday time was .4 sec. faster that he'd gone on Friday.
National Guard Jordan Suzuki's Roger Lee Hayden crashed again-he'd crashed three times last weekend at Miller Motorsports Park. Still, he qualified on the row two pole on the strength of his Friday time. Team Amsoil/Hero's Geoff May (EBR) was fifth fastest, also from his Friday time, with MotorcycleSuperstore.com/Attack Performance's Steve Rapp (Kaw) seventh fastest. Larry Pegram didn't improve on his Friday time of 2:14.070 mins. He ended up eighth overall.
Road America Superbike Qualifying Results:
1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 2:11.333
2. Blake Young (Suzuki) 2:12.908
3. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 2:13.079
4. Ben Bostrom (Suzuki) 2:13.537
5. Roger Lee Hayden (Suzuki) 2:13.698
6. Geoff May (EBR) 2:13.844
7. Steve Rapp (Kawasaki) 2:13.866
8. Larry Pegram (BMW) 2:14.070
9. Danny Eslick (EBR) 2:14.153
10. Chris Clark (Suzuki) 2:14.667