TOOELE, Utah – Josh Hayes did on Sunday at Miller Motorsports Park what he’s done so many times over his career – he swept a MotoAmerica doubleheader, recording the 54th and 55th Superbike wins of his career on a day that featured temperatures in the triple digits in Utah.
The two wins, combined with his teammate Cameron Beaubier’s two runner-up finishes, translates to Hayes leaving Miller with the points lead in the 2015 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Superbike Championship – albeit by just four points with a three-week break before the series heads to the Monterey Peninsula for round seven of the nine-round series at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
With Beaubier second in both races, third in both fell to Yoshimura Suzuki’s Roger Hayden, though he deserved better in race two. In the heat of a battle with Hayes for the win, Hayden’s Suzuki encountered a mechanical problem that forced him to go into survival mode. Beaubier was able to catch and pass the Kentuckian and it left Hayden with another third-place finish – his sixth of the season to go with his three runner-up finishes.
Hayden’s Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Jake Lewis carded a pair of fourths on the day to maintain his third in the championship, though Hayden is closing in and now trails the series rookie by just two points, 171-169.
In race one, Hayes and Beaubier battled for the entire 18 laps with the veteran besting his young teammate by just .280 of a second. Hayden struggled in race one and couldn’t keep pace with the two Yamahas, finishing 13.9 seconds behind and less than a second ahead of teammate Lewis.
Fifth overall went to Josh Day, the Westby Racing rider taking the Superstock 1000 win in the process. Sixth overall and fifth in Superbike was Chris Fillmore, the KTM factory rider turning in a good effort to hold off Turbo Turtle Racing’s Danny Eslick by less than half a second after their race-long battle. Then came TOBC Racing’s Taylor Knapp in eighth overall and second in the Superstock 1000 class, just a tick ahead of Aprilia HSBK’s Sheridan Morais, who was third in Superstock. Bernat Martinez rounded out the top 10 overall with his seventh-place finish in Superbike.
Hayden got his race-one woes fixed to run at the front of race two with Hayes, the Suzuki rider pestering Hayes for most of the race and even leading at one point. But then the Suzuki slowed and Hayden was forced to abandon the chase, watching Hayes disappear in the distance and then also getting passed by Beaubier. All that allowed Hayes to cruise to his seventh win of the season.
“It’s an incredible weekend,” Hayes said after his doubleheader sweep. “It’s tough sometimes when Cam (Beaubier) keeps beating me session after session and you just have to keep your wits about you and stay the course. The team’s always a huge help and a bit inspiration for me when it comes down to doing the work. We work well together and we stay steady and finally find ourselves in positions like this. I’m just excited I’m still in the show after falling down in Atlanta. We’ll keep plugging away and find ourselves in a good spot so big thanks to my team.”