LEEDS, ALABAMA, SEPT 25 - Rockstar Makita Suzuki's Blake Young upstaged the championship contenders by stealing the pole position on a sunny Saturday morning at Barber Motorsports Park.Young is a supporting player in the drama being played out in Alabama. Teammate Tommy Hayden trails Team Graves Yamaha's Josh Hayes by 22 points heading into this afternoon's race. Both Hayden and Hayes wanted the point that goes with the pole, but it went to Young.It was here in mid-June that Young broke his back, forcing him out of several races. Now he was back and getting stronger by the day. Could he make a difference in the outcome of the championship? Mostly he wanted to win his first race since doing the double at Road Atlanta in the third round of the series."If I don't have the pace to go with them, I'm not going to intervene and do anything out of the norm. yeah. I'd like to win today, but..."Hayes wanted the pole, but he had something else, he had consistency. Young did have the single fastest lap, a 1:25.554, but Hayes was consistent and fast. And having not finished worse than second most of the season, he knew that if he just did what he's been doing all year he should be fine."I definitely took a couple of shots at it and did the best I could," Hayes said after qualifying second to Young. "Blake (Young) put in a good lap. It was pretty tough out there. This is a track that it's not hard to make a mistake. One little thing down there into turn four, five, whatever it is, can put you off track pretty easy and off line and it really hurts your lap times."We are pretty steady, doing some good laps, and I've done good laps on one tire for a long time. I've gotten a lot of laps on the tire so I'm kind of in the same boat always. Good, strong consistent laps, race distance and go out and do 21 of them now."Hayden wasn't happy with his qualifying effort. He said he made too many mistakes, which he'd have to correct before the race. That was more important to him than the pole point, which he didn't think was critical.Said Hayden, "It's pretty simple: I got to try to do the best I can, hopefully win the race and hope for some good luck. Besides that it's pretty much out of my control and I'm not really thinking about it past that." He added, "I think our pace is good enough to battle for the win today."Monster Energy M4 Suzuki's John Hopkins isn't in the title battle. A lingering wrist injury required surgery back in May, knocking him out of most of the season. He returned at VIR and has gotten stronger ever since, finishing on the podium at the previous race at New Jersey Motorsports Park. This was his first trip to Barber, other than a track day last week, and he took to it immediately."It's going to be a battle, definitely between the four of us up here, but I know there's a championship to be won by these two guys, but I don't want to go out, knock on wood, and do anything stupid," he said. "But I'd like to go out and put a win in before the end of the year for the team and all the efforts that they've done. And, yeah, I'm not going to sugarcoat it. I want to go out and win. I'm going to be going for it, for sure."Superbike Qualifying:

1. Blake Young (Suzuki) 1:25.554

2. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:25.701

3. John Hopkins (Suzuki) 1:25.901

4. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) 1:25.935

5. Eric Bostrom (Suzuki) 1:26.096

6. Jake Zemke (Suzuki) 1:26.200

7. Jake Holden (Yamaha) 1:26.278

8. Geoff May (Buell) 1:26.299

9. Taylor Knapp (Suzuki) 1:26.380

10. Larry Pegram (Ducati) 1:26.592

AMA Pro Racing Headlines

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.

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