MONTEREY, CA, JULY 28 - Monster Energy Graves Yamaha's Josh Hayes went faster in the red flag shortened first qualifying session today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca than he did in yesterday's lone practice session. Roger Lee Hayden, his closest rival thus far after two sessions in the hills east of Monterey Bay, went slower. Thus, Hayes' gap to Hayden grew to almost a second with this afternoon's final session set to determine pole position for tomorrow's Superbike National.
Hayes took .464 of a second off his best from yesterday, the defending Superbike National Champion lapping at 1:24.527 in a session that was shortened after an oil spill the Corkscrew caused at least four riders to crash. The chain-reaction crash started with Hayden's National Guard Suzuki blowing up and leaking oil on the entrance to Laguna's signature downhill, left-right Corkscrew. What followed was a melee with Danny Eslick and his EBR the first to crash in the oil. Larry Pegram, Dale Kieffer and Jake Holden also went down, though all returned to action when the session was re-started with the exception of Keiffer, the RacersEdgePerformance.com Suzuki too damaged to allow him to continue.
Hayden managed to hold on to second with his 1:25.465 fractions better than his Jordan Motorsports teammate Ben Bostrom. Blake Young, meanwhile, went .769 of a second faster than he did yesterday to climb from 10th to fourth.
Geoff May, who was third yesterday, couldn't replicate his effort and he slipped won the order to fifth. That still put him ahead of the second factory Yamaha of Josh Herrin, the Superbike rookie improving slightly to end up sixth.
Yoshimura Suzuki's Chris Clark was another who couldn't match his pace from yesterday, the youngster slipping from fifth to seventh. Jake Holden, Eslick and Pegram rounded out the top 10 in advance of this afternoon's final qualifying session.
Superbike Qualifying 1
1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:24.527
2. Roger Lee Hayden (Suzuki) 1:25.465
3. Ben Bostrom (Suzuki) 1:25.501
4. Blake Young (Suzuki) 1:25.740
5. Geoff May (EBR) 1:25.838
6. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 1:26.059
7. Chris Clark (Suzuki) 1:26.363
8. Jake Holden (Honda) 1:26.543
9. Danny Eslick (EBR) 1:26.645
10. Larry Pegram (BMW) 1:26.680