Hayes Scores Another SuperBike Trophy

Josh Hayes (1) leads the AMA National Guard SuperBike field at NOLA Motorsports Park in Louisiana Saturday. (Brian J. Nelson Photo)
Josh Hayes (1) leads the AMA National Guard SuperBike field at NOLA Motorsports Park in Louisiana Saturday. (Brian J. Nelson Photo)

NEW ORLEANS, La. – Three-time AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike champion Josh Hayes gave his home fans a one-race summary of the sort of domination he’s delivered throughout his entire 2012 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing campaign on Saturday at NOLA Motorsports Park.

The Monster Energy Graves Yamaha ace marched away right from the start. He gapped the field by over a second on the opening lap and built his lead from there to claim the first race of the weekend’s SuperBike doubleheader at the Triumph Big Kahuna New Orleans presented by Dunlop Tire and LeoVince.

The Mississippian collected the 15th victory of his unprecedented season with more than ten seconds in hand today, demonstrating his superiority even after securing the 2012 crown a round early.

The win is the 32nd of Hayes’ premier-class career, tying him with AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike legend Miguel DuHamel for second on the all-time list.

“I had a great race — the most drama I had was I did a little ‘poppa-wheelie’ on the start,” Hayes said. “It took me a second to get it down and get going… The first lap everything went pretty clean. I didn’t really protect any areas on the racetrack; I just put in a good clean lap. There have been a couple sections of the track that I’ve owned through the weekend so I just tried to hit my marks on those areas of the racetrack and got myself a gap pretty early.

“I didn’t have a single slip or slide out there. I was pretty comfortable and having a lot of fun. I had so many people come out here this weekend; I just wanted to do well for them. I’m glad I was able to win the race.”

Once again, Yoshimura Suzuki’s Blake Young overcame a second-row start to prove he’s still the next best thing to Hayes on the circuit. The Suzuki pilot got a terrific launch off the line, storming into second. From there he waged a battle deep into the contest with Jordan Suzuki’s Ben Bostrom as they quickly broke free of a multi-rider melee for fourth.

Late in the contest, Young had second position firmly under control when Bostrom suffered an apparent mechanical issue. The Californian dropped well off the pace and down to 15th in the final finishing order.

“I got a pretty good start from the second row,” Young said. “I’ve had to learn to start from the second row because I can’t seem to get it together in qualifying to get up on the front row. I got off to a fairly good start. The only thing I would have liked to do better is go faster on the first couple of laps. I’m pretty happy. It was a good race. I’m happy to get second for Yoshimura Suzuki; the guys are working good for me as always. Tomorrow I think we can apply a few things we learned today with the motorcycle and I learned a few things as a rider. Hopefully we can put that all together and race with Josh a little bit and make it exciting for the fans.”

Bostrom’s Michael Jordan Motorsports teammate, Roger Hayden, assumed third from Bostrom. It was a hard climb for the Kentuckian, who dropped outside the top ten on the opening lap and systematically worked his way forward as the race progressed.

Late in the race, Hayden was officially more than five seconds ahead of fourth, and yet at the same time, in an on-track fight with Team Venezuela’s Robertino Pietri and KTM/HMC Racing’s Chris Fillmore. Both Pietri and Fillmore were penalized five seconds for having crossed the white line next to the wall on the outside of the track’s final corner, potentially spoiling breakthrough rides for both men.

However, Fillmore (fourth) and Pietri (fifth) ultimately still finished in the same position in the final results as they did on track, having pulled well clear of Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing BMW’s Larry Pegram in sixth.

Third-place finisher Hayden said, “It was kind of an exciting race for me. I got a bad start and kind of got pinched off and lost a few spots. I tried to make it all back up in Turn 4 and ran off the track. I think after the first lap I was 12th or 13th. I made up a few spots and then I passed Dave Anthony and he got into the back of me and off the track I went again. I went back to 12th. I just picked guys off slowly and didn’t try to force anything. Third place is a bit of a gift — I don’t know what happened to Ben’s bike. Not the best race, but we got third and we’re third in points, which is my best season finish so far. Tomorrow we’ll try to make the bike a little better, get a better start, and try to not let these guys get away at the beginning.”

Seventh went to Riders Discount K&L Supply’s Taylor Knapp, ahead of Attack Performance’s Steve Rapp, who earlier ran in fourth.

Kneedraggers.com/Motul/Fly Racing’s David Anthony came home in ninth, while EvanSteelPerformance.com BMW’s Aaron Yates rounded out the top ten as the SuperBike star continues to find his for in his return to action.

It was a true showdown in AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike. GEICO Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas clinched the title in Miami, but many times during the 2012 season he had to watch Cameron Beuabier, who had no title aspirations after an earlier injury, win races for Y.E.S /Graves/Yamaha. With the championship decided, both riders could go for it in New Orleans.

Beaubier came out on top as Cardenas crashed out in the waning laps while the duo fought for position at the front. It was the seventh win of the year for Beaubier, which ties him with Cardenas for the most victories on the season in GoPro Daytona SportBike.

Celtic Racing/Orient Express Racing’s James Rispoli did exactly what he needed to on Saturday to not only lock up the 2012 AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport West Division Championship but the overall SuperSport National Championship as well. Rispoli rode a measured race, consistently battling in podium contention before ultimately being credited in fourth in the red-flagged concluded contest.

The West Region and overall National Championships are in addition to Rispoli’s triumphant 2011 season in which he claimed the East Region and overall National Championships.