DAYTONA BEACH, FL, MAR. 17 - If yesterday's Superbike race at Daytona International Speedway put you to sleep, then today's had you on the edge of your seat with Blake Young and Josh Hayes fighting it out for the entire 15 laps and Young taking the victory by an eyelash - .002 of a second.
Early on, Hayes tried to make a break for it as he did yesterday, but this time Young was having none of it. Although Hayes and his Monster Energy Graves Yamaha led the most laps, Young was always right there, taking the lead for the first time on the 10th of 15 laps. Hayes got back in front right away, but it was Young leading on the final lap. As is usually the case, it came down to the drafting battle out of the chicane and it would have been easy to think that Young was a dead duck as he and the Yoshimura Suzuki elected to lead. But the GSX-R1000 had enough legs to hold off the R1 - barely! at the finish line.
"It was a great race," Young said. "Definitely better for us today than yesterday. The GSX-R1000 was great and I didn't showcase its talent yesterday and today we did. Hats off to the Hayes guys. It shows they've been working hard this winter. It was exciting racing and it was up in the air until the end for me. I didn't know what I had in store for him. Boy he was getting through that chicane good and I learned a lot from Josh today, I'll admit that."
Although disappointed at coming up just short, Hayes was happy to have had a battle.
"It was a great race, an exciting race," Hayes said. "More fun than yesterday -except for that little finish part. My bike was perfect and it was 100 percent on my shoulders and I missed it by that much. Blake did a great job and he upped his performance form yesterday. It will be a long season with lots of those kinds of races. It was nice to have a shot at it. I just miss-timed it."
Yesterday only Hayes was capable of lapping in the 1:37s. Today Young had the quickest lap of the race - a 1:37.379 on the 11th lap.
Young's win is his first of the season, giving him and his rival Hayes a win apiece as the series gets off to a roaring start in 2012.
Third place today went to National Guard Suzuki's Roger Lee Hayden for the second straight day, the Kentuckian fighting for the duration with Monster Energy Graves Yamaha's Josh Herrin, but finally breaking his spirit to beat him by 1.2 seconds. Still, the rookie Herrin had showed gusto and finished fourth in his second AMA Superbike race.
"He [Herrin] was riding hard and made me earn it today," Hayden said.
As he did yesterday, Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing's Larry Pegram chased down motorcycle-superstore.com/Attack Racing's Steve Rapp and beat him to the finish line - by just .080 of a second.
Then came a lonely Chris Clark on the second Yoshimura Suzuki, 8.6 seconds behind Rapp and 1.8 seconds clear of Jake Holden.
Erik Buell Racing's Danny Eslick and Robertino Pietri rounded out the top 10 finishers.
For the second straight day, Michael Jordan Motorsports' Ben Bostrom suffered a crash. He remounted and finished 15th.
Hayes leads Young by three points after two races, 58-55. Hayden is third with 42 points.
1. Blake Young (Suzuki)
2. Josh Hayes (Yamaha)
3. Roger Lee Hayden (Suzuki)
4. Josh Herrin (Yamaha)
5. Larry Pegram (BMW)
6. Steve Rapp (Kawasaki)
7. Chris Clark (Suzuki)
8. Jake Holden (BMW)
9. Danny Eslick (EBR)
10. Robertino Pietri (Suzuki)