Herrin actually had to claw his way back into second after holding down first minutes earlier. After Hayes knocked him down off the top of the charts, Jordan Suzuki’s resurgent Danny Eslick stole second from Herrin, sneaking in a quick lap while running on Hayes’ heels. Herrin countered in short order, lowering his time to a 1:26.218 to edge ahead of the Oklahoman’s 1:26.222.
Meanwhile, National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Roger Hayden also demonstrated promising pace on the opening day of action. The Kentuckian ran in second over the session’s first half before ultimately winding up as the final man on the provisional front row, just 0.05 seconds behind his Michael Jordan Motorsports teammate.
Big things are expected from Hayden this weekend, who came up a combined 0.466 seconds of taking two wins last time out at Barber Motorsports Park, led momentarily on the final lap at Mid-Ohio one year ago, and beat Hayes to the checkered flag here two years back to earn his first-career AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike podium.
Point leader Martin Cardenas was fifth quick on Friday aboard the Yoshimura Suzuki Factory Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000. The Colombian was followed by Chris Fillmore, another rider under the spotlight this weekend at Mid-Ohio due to his impressive premier class debut aboard the KTM/HMC Racing KTM RC8R at the roller-coastering circuit in 2011.
Cameron Beaubier earned provisional pole in the AMA Pro Go Pro Daytona SportBike class on Friday. Beaubier, winner of four of the five 2013 series races, was able to outdistance his rivals by a surprising margin of 1.379. Beaubier broke the track record in the progress.
“I think I just have a little confidence and I’m rolling from the last round. I felt really good at Barber and just came here and tried to pick up where we left off. My bike’s been awesome,” said the Californian. “We have some things to work on for tomorrow morning but we’re in good shape for the race.”
Beaubier and the Yamaha Extended Services/Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha team might have been out in front by a wide margin, but a close group of riders followed. Less than half a second separated the next six pilots. Beaubier’s teammate Garrett Gerloff was second on the day, followed by JD Beach of RoadRace Factory/Red Bull. Meen Motorsports’ Jake Lewis rounded out the provisional front row.
Jason DiSalvo (Latus Motors Racing) was fifth, backing up his resurgent performance in Alabama.
Miles Thornton earned provisional pole in the AMA Pro Motorcycle-SuperStore.com SuperSport class on Friday. CTR Racing’s Thornton topped Tomas Puerta (RoadRace Factory) Hayden Gillim (Team 95) and Travis Wyman (Harv’s HD) on the provisional front row.
Thornton has been competitive in the class and also qualified on the front row at Barber. “Every round is getting better and better. The top ten is nice but I am ready to get that win,” said Thornton. “I think this weekend could be it. I’ve trained very hard this month. My confidence is at its peak.”
Thornton was 0.262 faster than Puerta around the 15-turn course on Friday in pleasant weather conditions.