Race 1 of American Superbike at Mid-Ohio saw Yamaha’s Josh Hayes take his second victory of the season as he held off Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates on the final lap to cross the finish-line 0.183 seconds ahead.
Starting from pole position Hayes lost the lead once to Yoshimura Suzuki’s Blake Young on Lap 1. After a number of failed attempts to retake the Yamaha R1 rider finally made a move that stuck while in Turn 1 of Lap 6. The Mississippi native was pressured for the remainder of the 21-lap race, but managed to hold off Yates’ late-race charge when it came down to the wire.
With a race win earlier in the season at Infineon Raceway, Hayes had this to say regarding his second, “It started off pretty crazy. I started off pretty good through Turn 1 and just got trounced before I got to the keyhole, then Blake kind of got out there and took off and ran. It took me a little while to get my wits about me and get to him and get through there and then I just tried to ride smooth, and I just had a lot of fun. It was a good race. There was a lot of pressure the whole way, and the last lap was right up there with every other lap.”
Yates made a sprint for the lead starting on Lap 15, but was slowed greatly by lapped traffic on Lap 17. Once clear of the other riders he laid down the fastest lap of the race with a time of 1’25.66 on Lap 20, but it just wasn’t enough to unseat Hayes. It was also a fantastic result for Yates despite narrowly missing out on a victory. With two consecutive podiums he is certainly picking-up speed.
“It was a pretty good race, though we didn’t get off the line like we hoped to,” stated the Jordan Suzuki rider. “Some guys came by and we were a little slow getting into Turn 1 but we set in and had a good race. I knew it was going to be a pretty good-size pack up front and everybody was running pretty close. It was going to be interesting to see who was there at the end and I felt pretty good about the end of the race. It was tough getting by a few guys… I got to the front pretty quick but we couldn’t really make a move on the leader. But it was fun at the end… I was able to ride like I thought I could, we just ran out of laps.”
Johnny Rock Page will be suspended for holding up Aaron Yates and Josh Hayes as they attempted to lap the rider.
Six-time AMA Superbike champion Mat Mladin was relegated to the last spot on the podium, an incredible result for any rider who starts from the third row of the grid but surprising given the Aussie’s near complete domination of 2009 wins.
“I was at the back of that five- or six-bike train up at the front. So we went along and picked our way through to third and that was about as far as I could go,” said Mladin following the race. “These guys were running a good pace out there today, and it’s one thing to get up there and it’s another thing to get past. That was it, we just didn’t have it today.”
Hayes’ teammate Ben Bostrom finished in fourth, ahead of the sole Ducati privateer Larry Pegram in fifth.
Meanwhile, Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden and Blake Young both had shining moments, but couldn’t pull together the podium performances they wanted. Hayden got a good start but struggled on the back straight and finished sixth, while Young led the first several laps before finishing up in seventh.
Frustrated, Hayden later commented, “The start went all right, the Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000 was working pretty good on most of the track but I was struggling a little on the back straight-away – getting on it and braking at the end of it, I was giving a lot away. I’m disappointed because I thought we had a lot better than that today. On the rest of the track, I feel really good so if we can fix that one area for tomorrow we’ll be pretty competitive. So we’ll work on that and be back tomorrow.”
In the same vein Young remarked, “We got off to a really good start on the Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000. I didn’t lead it into 1, but I led it into 2. And then I just put my head down and the bike was feeling really good and I put some laps together that were good. But around Lap 5, the bike started feeling different and I think we just missed the set-up today but we learned a lot for tomorrow’s race and we’ll be back tomorrow.”
David Anthony (No. 25 Aussie Dave Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000) was involved in an accident during Saturday morning’s Final Qualifying session in which he was transported to MedCentral in Mansfield, Ohio for further evaluation.
The AMA has announced that Johnny Rock Page will be suspended for the remainder of the Mid-Ohio Honda Super Cycle Weekend, as well as the upcoming Heartland Park Topeka round, for failing to acknowledge the blue flag that signals lapped riders to move aside. Page is blamed for impeding the progress of both Hayes and Yates.
American Superbike Race 1 Podium (left to right): Mladin with third, Hayes with the win, & Yates taking third.
American Superbike Race 1 Results
1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha R1)
2. Aaron Yates (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
3. Mat Mladin (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
4. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha R1)
5. Larry Pegram (Ducati 1098R)
6. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
7. Blake Young (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
8. Geoff May (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
9. Jake Holden (Honda CBR-1000RR)
10. Michael Laverty (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
11. Neil Hodgson (Honda CBR1000RR)
12. Taylor Knapp (Buell 1125RR)
13. Chris Ulrich (Suzuki GSX-R1000)
14. Scott Jensen (Suzuki GSX-R1000)