Monster Energy Graves Yamaha's Josh Hayes finished the first of two days of testing at Miller Motorsports Park with the fastest time on a track where he'd never raced a Superbike.Hayes lapped the 3.06-mile Perimeter Course in 1:50.884 to finish the day ahead of a host of Suzukis in a return to the track that hasn't hosted a round of the AMA Superbike Championship since 2008. (Though he hasn't raced a Superbike at MMP, Hayes did ride a handful of laps on an American Honda CBR1000RR test mule on the short course in 2007.)Back in 2008, AMA Superbikes ran the 4.5-mile full course, while the World Superbikes were on the Perimeter Course. Though it was never stated, most in the AMA paddock believed that it was to avoid a direct comparison between the World Superbike riders on Pirellis and the AMA riders, specifically Ben Spies and Mat Mladin, on Dunlops. The only time the AMA Superbikes ran the Perimeter Course was in 2006, when Yoshimura Suzuki's Spies took the pole with a lap of 1:49.617. Spies won the first-ever Superbike race that Saturday, lost the next day to American Honda's Jake Zemke, then won both races the next two years. The AMA series stopped racing in support of World Superbike in 2009 and was also absent in 2010. The AMA rejoins the World Superbike meeting on Memorial Day weekend, with World Superbike racing on Monday, May 30, along with the second round of the Superbike and Vance & Hines XR1200 classes. Daytona SportBike and SuperSport run on Sunday.Hayes is one of two active current full-time riders to have won at MMP; Geoff May is the other. Hayes won the Formula Xtreme race in 2006 aboard an Erion Honda, but this was his first outing on the Yamaha Superbike at the track and he made the most of it nearly seven weeks after finishing second in the Saturday Superbike race at Daytona International Speedway.Hayes was fastest in all four sessions, though by smaller margins in each successive outing as the other riders got up to speed and the day warmed up."It was pretty cold and I think quite a few of them opted not to ride. It wasn't too bad," he said. "The first session you go out, my hands got a little cold, a little numb and you start kinda losing some feel for the bike. But I got in quite a few laps. I felt like I was kinda ahead of those guys, because I just went out and looked at the track and started to remember all my marks and get my timing right while I was finding my way around the racetrack."The reigning AMA Superbike champion finished the day with a time that was .371 of a second faster than Rockstar Makita Suzuki's Tommy Hayden. Third fastest was Hayden's teammate Blake Young, with Hayden's brother, Roger Lee, fourth on the National Guard Jordan Suzuki.Other than a test several weeks ago at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, Hayes hadn't been on his Superbike since Daytona. And, he said, the Yamaha YZF-R1 was little changed since Daytona."It still felt like it's been quite a while since I've been on a motorcycle and this is a fast track to get up to speed on pretty quick, but that seemed to be the thing that I did best today, was I got up to speed quickly, even in the morning session," he said. "In the morning I had, I think, almost two seconds on Roger [Hayden] and like four or five seconds on Blake [Young] and the rest of them after the first 45-minute session. And then the second session, it tightened down a little, but it was still a second and two seconds. And then those guys started getting going in the third and fourth sessions and got it much closer."Rather than making the day complicated by testing a host of parts, Hayes said the team "made an easy day for me. They let me do laps and see the race track quite a bit and I didn't change any tires during sessions, really. I rode on one set for each session and rode the standard, medium compound stuff until the last session. I went out on used tires for a couple laps, came in, put in a fresh set of softs, front and rear, and just did a long stint on those where I did, I don't know, 12 or 13 laps on the softer rubber and that's basically all we did."So tomorrow we have a little bit more in the test plan as far as some suspension changes and some tires that we're supposed to try. But other than that for the most part today I did laps and allowed Vito [Bolognesi, Yamaha's data engineer] and the guys to work on engine mapping and things like that a little bit and just gave them some feedback if it got better or worse or if I could tell the difference."There were other notable performances. Steve Rapp was ninth fastest in his debut on the San Jose BMW. Australian Josh Waters was 12th on the Rockstar Makita Suzuki. And JD Beach made his Superbike debut by finishing 13th on the Cycle World Attack Performance Kawasaki ZX-10R.

Superbike Day One Times:

1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:50.884

2. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) 1:51.255

3. Blake Young (Suzuki) 1:51.500

4. Roger Hayden (Suzuki) 1:51.602

5. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki) 1:51.700

6. Chris Clark (Yamaha) 1:51.941

7. Larry Pegram (BMW) 1:51.968

8. Ben Bostrom (Suzuki) 1:512.115

9. Steve Rapp (BMW) 1:52.815

10. Chris Peris (BMW) 1:52.966Daytona SportBike Day One Times:1. PJ Jacobsen (Ducati) 1:56.489

2. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 1:56.543

3. Jason DiSalvo (Ducati) 1:56.674

4. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha) 1:57.212

5. Cory West (Suzuki) 1:56.557Supersport Day One Times:1. Benny Solis (Honda) 1:58.565

2. Tomas Puerta (Yamaha) 1:58.901

3. David Gaviria (Yamaha) 1:58.905

4. Corey Alexander (Suzuki) 1:59.705

5. Quentin Wilson (Ducati) 2:03.033XR1200 Day One Times:1. Chris Fillmore (2:09.994)

2. Chase McFarland (2:10.428)

3. Kyle Wyman (2:10.600)

4. Gerry Signorelli (2:10.721)

5. Joe Kopp (2:10.848)

 

AMA Pro Racing Headlines

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.

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