Hayden had looked to be Hayes’ primary concern this weekend, outpacing him on Friday and then pushing him throughout the remainder of the lead-up to the race. However, by the time Hayden found a way past Herrin on lap 8, Hayes had already built up more than five seconds worth of padding.
While Hayden managed to cut into Hayes’ lead ever so slightly once he had some clear track in front of him, the former Supersport champion’s recent string of poor luck struck yet again. Hayden was forced out of the race on lap 12 with a mechanical issue, making it three consecutive races in which he flashed the outright pace to race for the win but ultimately came away with a disappointing result.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas followed Hayden past Herrin but made a mistake running through the Corkscrew on lap 11, allowing Herrin back past. From that point on, Herrin held strong, successfully fending Cardenas to the stripe.
Runner-up Herrin remarked, “My plan from the beginning was to stick behind Josh from lap 1 but it didn’t work out so well. I know why — on the warm-up lap he always goes from the line like it’s the start of the race and gets the pace going and gets used to it. I just wasn’t ready when the flagged dropped. I got a good start but he was gone the first couple of laps.
“The battle with Rog and Martin was good. I’m not sure what happened to Roger — bummer that he wasn’t there. All the work I’ve been putting in… the last two laps when I decided I needed to put it down so (Cardenas) didn’t pass me somewhere, I was able to do so easily. I think if we could have kept up with Josh at the beginning like we normally do, it would have been a tight race, but I just wasn’t able to keep up with him.”
Cardenas came home third, his eighth podium finish in nine races since joining the Yoshimura squad.
Cameron Beaubier won his seventh AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike race of the year on Sunday at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, taking the win over teammate Garrett Gerloff and RoadRace Factory/Red Bull’s Jake Gagne in a red-flagged race shortened to 14 laps.