LEXINGTON, OHIO, JULY 17 - Team Graves Yamaha's Josh Hayes took sole possession of the American Superbike championship by holding off a persistent Ben Bostrom (Pat Clark Motorsports Yamaha) over 21 hot laps of the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.Hayes had come into the first of the weekend's two races tied in points with Rockstar Makita Suzuki's Tommy Hayden. But as soon as the race began, Hayes went to the front and Hayden got shuffled back a few spots. Then it was a struggle to catch back up to the leaders.Hayes and Bostrom gradually cleared out while Hayden slipped back as far as fifth. Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing's Larry Pegram ran a strong third for much of the race, with National Guard Jordan Suzuki's Jake Zemke an early fourth.The leaders were well clear of any possible attack by about the ninth lap. Then it was just a matter of Bostrom finding an opening. Hayes never let him. The gap at the line changed from lap to lap, but it was never over a second mostly less than half a second.On the final lap it looked like Bostrom was going to make his move into the hard braking turn six right at the end of the back straight. Bostrom clearly got hard on the brakes, but Hayes had anticipated the move and came through more smoothly. And from there to the end he was able to defend his position."The last lap I didn't get the best drive onto the back straight," Hayes said. "I had kinda planned to block it a little bit anyway, but I kinda went down the middle of the back straightaway held it kinda tight on the exit, broke deep and to the inside and just made sure I didn't leave any big holes out there and give him any opportunities. It wasn't going to be a gift. And i was very fortuante. I feel kinda lucky that I beat him around to the line. He had a great bike, just like mine, and today was, one rmore time it was my day. It could be his any day now. I'm going to try to not let it happen"The margin of victory was .219 secs.Hayden was faster over the final half of the race, and especially the last four laps, and was able to make the pass on the 19th of 21 laps. He finished 5.131 secs. behind Bostrom after slowing on the final lap."Definitely not what I expected," Hayden said. "I expected a minimum to be up there battling with these guys for the lead and then see what happens, but didn't work out today and come back and try and do better tomorrow"The win was Hayes' fourth of the year and fourth in the last five races. Going into Sunday's race he has a ten point lead, 260 to 250 over Hayden. Zemke, who finished sixth today, is third with 230 points.M4 Monster Energy Suzuki's Jake Holden finished a solitary fifth, as did the others behind him. Zemke was alone in sixth and teammate Brett McCormick (Jordan Suzuki) was well clear of Eric Bostrom. Bostrom, who had brake issues, finished eighth in his return to racing on the Cycle World Attack Performance Yoshimura Suzuki.Kurtis Roberts had less success in his return. Roberts was running in 12th place on the 13th lap when he lost the rear on the exit of the Keyhole, fell to the inside and watched his Ridersdiscount.com Yamaha ghost ride into the infield.Holden's teammate Chris Ulrich finished ninth and 4.26 secs. in front of Wazne Racing Ciclo Werks BMC Dewildt Honda's Jordan Szoke.

Results:1

 Josh Hayes (Yamaha)

2. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha)

3. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki)

4. Larry Pegram (Ducati)

5. Jake Holden (Suzuki)

6. Jake Zemke (Suzuki)

7. Brett McCormick (Suzuki)

8. Eric Bostrom (Suzuki)

9. Chris Ulrich (Suzuki)

10. Jordan Szoke (Honda)

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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