LEEDS, Ala. – The Monster Energy/Graves Motorsports Yamaha team continued its domination of the 2015 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Superbike Championship at Barber Motorsports Park on Sunday, but this time it was Josh Hayes’ turn to steal back some valuable points from his teammate Cameron Beaubier.
With Beaubier crashing out of the lead in race one, Hayes took full advantage to earn maximum points and basically erase the 26-point lead that Beaubier had left Road America with. In race two, Beaubier bounced back to win with Hayes second, but his 26-point lead is now just six points.
Hayes won his fifth Superbike race of the season in race one under a searing heat in Alabama with Beaubier coming back from his race-one crash to win his fifth of the year in race two. The big difference was that Hayes was second in race two and that was the difference maker. Together the pair have won all 10 of the Superbike races.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Hayden finished second in race one and third in race two of the Triumph Superbike Challenge of Alabama, with his teammate Jake Lewis third in race one and fourth in race two.
In race one, Beaubier crashed out of the lead on the eighth lap, leaving Hayes and Hayden to fight for the win. Although he was close, Hayden couldn’t get past the four-time Superbike champion on the final lap and he came up just .397 of a second short at the finish line. Third place on the track went to the impressive Jake Gagne, the Roadrace Factory rider and his Superstock-class R1 only 2.3 seconds behind and well clear of the second-best Superstock class rider, Taylor Knapp, in the red-flag shortened race.
Lewis ended up fourth overall and third in the Superbike class on the second Yoshimura Suzuki. Turbo Turtle Racing Honda’s Danny Eslick beat Knapp and his TOBC Yamaha R1 for fifth overall, giving him fourth in the Superbike class.
“Roger (Hayden) was definitely good in a couple of sections and I thought I had a couple of sections where I was good,” Hayes said after winning race one – his 75th career AMA victory spanning all the classes. “I was struggling to decide how the race was going to play out, how long I was going to be sitting there. The opportunity came up and I jumped on it. Rog and I went side by side down the front straightaway and I was just in the right place for turn one. I think the second race will be a lot of the same. The person who makes the least mistakes will be in the best position.”
Beaubier was able to rebound from his race-one crash to best Hayes in race two, the 22-year-old besting his veteran teammate by .128 of a second. Hayden was third, almost nine seconds back after nipping at the two Yamahas’ heels for most of the 20-lap race.
Gagne was again at the head of the Superstock 1000 class, beating Lewis again for fourth overall. Lewis was fifth overall and fourth in the Superbike class with Aprilia HSBK Racing’s Sheridan Moriais ending up second in the Superstock 1000 class. Eslick again got the better of Knapp for seventh overall with Knapp earning third in Superstock 1000.
“I was pretty frustrated after the first race,” Beaubier said after his eighth career Superbike win and his fifth of the season. “It was no one’s fault but my own. I got in there a little hot and tried to stay on the track and go to the curb and I was using too much rear brake and it went to the lock and pitched me off. That was pretty frustrating. I cooled off a little bit and forgot about race one. I knew it would be tough. Both of these guys are riding awesome. I went out there and finally got a good start and put my head down. I didn’t think any of us were going to break away today. It was so slick out there it was almost like a rain race. I was just trying to be consistent. I felt more comfortable in the lead then riding around in second. I just felt more comfortable trying to control the race.”
After 10 of 18 races, Beaubier leads Hayes by six points, 201-195. Lewis is still third with 145 points, but his teammate Hayden is closing in with 137. Bernat Martinez still holds down fifth in the series with 99 points.
In the Superstock Series, Gagne has 200 points – 44 points clear of Knapp. England’s Mark Heckles is now third in the series after his fourth- and fifth-place finishes. The Brit has 132 points.