The reigning GoPro Daytona SportBike champ has already collected a win and a runner-up result this season and is quickly establishing himself as a serious SuperBike title contender.
Like Hayes, National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s title hopeful, Roger Hayden, comes into Road America looking to make up for a less-than-ideal opener. The Kentuckian got off to a strong start on Friday, clocking the third best time at 2:14.503.
A further 0.130 seconds adrift is early-season points leader, Josh Herrin. The #2 Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha ace rounds out the provisional front row in his first day back in official action following his breakthrough Daytona performance.
The provisional second row is headed by yet another Yamaha-mounted rider. Larry Pegram, who scored two podiums in the season opener, was fifth best today on the Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing Yamaha R1. He was followed on the charts by Jordan Suzuki’s Danny Eslick, Cardenas’ Yoshimura teammate, Chris Clark, and Team Hero’s Geoff May on the EBR 1190RS.
Motosport.com Motul Fly Racing’s David Anthony and KTM/HMC Racing’s Chris Fillmore round out the day’s top ten.
The final grid positions will be decided Saturday morning ahead of the afternoon’s 13-lap National Guard SuperBike contest.
Yamaha Extended Service/Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha pilot Cameron Beaubier earned provisional pole for the GoPro Daytona SportBike class on Friday. The Daytona 200 winner was quickest in both of the day’s sessions and the Californian was the only rider to break the 2:20-mark on the historic 4.05-mile circuit with a time of 2:19.908.
“After practice, I was expecting to get a little lower on my times,” Beaubier said. “It didn’t happen. I did three or four of those laps but I couldn’t get to the next step of lowering my lap times. I’m happy with that, though, and we’ll see if the weather is good tomorrow and try to improve it.”
Young riders dominate the provisional second row in GoPro Daytona SportBike, with riders 21 and under taking all the spots. Jake Lewis (Meen Motorsports), James Rispoli (National Guard/Celtic Racing), Garrett Gerloff (Y.E.S./Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha) and Joey Pascarella (Riders Discount Racing Triumph) earned fifth through ninth.
The battle behind Beaubier heated up late in the session. Jake Gagne of the RoadRace Factory/Red Bull squad earned second, just ahead of Dane Westby (GEICO Honda) and J.D. Beach, who made it two RoadRace Factory pilots on the provisional front row. Westby, after being injured in a practice crash at Daytona, appeared fully recovered in Wisconsin and was able to make his mark on Friday.
Stefano Mesa earned provisional pole in Friday afternoon’s AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport session. Mesa, a winner last season at Road America, joined the Motosport.com/RS Racecraft squad for this event and was able to set the best lap time of 2:24.275. Mesa won earlier this year at Daytona and the Colombian showed he will be a contender again this weekend.
Corey Alexander (National Guard/Celtic Racing) followed on Mesa’s tail, followed by a surprising Ricardo Valdez (Southeast Sales) and Baby Appleseed/CM Motorsport’s Jeffrey Tigert.