2011 AMA Pro Racing Daytona Thursday

March 10, 2011
Bart Madson
By Bart Madson
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Bashing away at the MotoUSA keyboard for nine years now, Madson lends his scribbling and editorial input on everything from bike reviews to industry analysis and motorcycle racing reports.

Josh Hayes in his Monster Energy Graves Yamaha livery turns laps during pre-season testing.
Josh Hayes in his Monster Energy Graves Yamaha livery turns laps during pre-season testing. The defending champ just edged out his 2010 rival, Tommy Hayden, for the top spot in Thursday qualifying.

The AMA Pro Road Racing season kicked off Thursday at Daytona International Speedway with practice and qualifying planned for all four racing classes. The action on the track was delayed, however, waiting for the track to dry after morning rain. Riders took to the track around 2 p.m. for the opening qualifying sessions.

American SuperBike

American SuperBike took to the track first, with Yamaha’s Josh Hayes leading the way. The defending champ just fended off his lead 2010 rival Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden, who was in turn followed by teammate Blake Young on the timesheets.

“I’m thinking my boys put some of the goods in the tank,” said Hayes. “But I wasn’t surprised that Tommy [Hayden] got up there and got up to speed quickly, and Blake [Young] too. I think there’s going to be quite a few of us up there [on Saturday], and I’d love to come home with some Daytona trophies. I’ve come really close to having some to go home with, and I’d really like to have a few.”

Larry Pegram was fourth-fastest aboard his new BMW mount, with Jordan Suzuki riders Ben Bostrom and Roger Hayden a respective fifth and sixth-fastest in the opening session.

American SuperBike Thursday Qualifying:
1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:38.8
2. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) 1:38.9
3. Blake Young (Suzuki) 1:39.2
4. Larry Pegram (BMW) 1:39.3
5. Ben Bostrom (Suzuki) 1:39.4
6. Roger Hayden (Suzuki) 1:39.7
7. Chris Peris (BMW) 1:40.4
8. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki) 1:40.9
9. Jeremy Toye (BMW) 1:40.9
10. David Anthony (Suzuki) 1:41.1
11. Chris Clark (Yamaha) 1:41.1
12. Chris Ulrich (Suzuki) 1:41.3
13. Eric Bostrom (Kawasaki) 1:41.5
14. Shane Narbonne (Suzuki) 1:41.8
15. Geoff May (Buell) 1:43.3 

Daytona SportBike

A pair of Ducatis led the way in preparation for the Daytona 200. Jason DiSalvo topped the timesheet aboard the Team Latus Ducati 848 EVO by more a full second, making a strong statement since his last appearance in 2009. DiSalvo was followed by Celtic Racing’s PJ Jacobsen. Attack Performance-tuned Kawasaki’s piloted by JD Beach and Eric Bostrom were a respective third and fifth on the timesheet, with 2009 DSB champ Danny Eslick holding fourth. Former D200 winner and current Project 1 Atlanta rider, Jake Zemke, was 11th-fastest, with Graves Yamaha pilot Josh Herrin back in 14th.

Daytona SportBike Thursday Qualifying:
1. Jason DiSalvo (Ducati) 01:51.4
2. PJ Jacobsen (Ducati) 01:52.4
3. JD Beach (Kawasaki) 01:53.3
4. Danny Eslick (Suzuki) 01:53.4
5. Eric Bostrom (Kawasaki) 01:53.4
6. Jake Holden (Ducati) 01:53.8
7. Michael Barnes (Yamaha) 01:53.9
8. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha) 01:54.0
9. Paul Allison (Yamaha) 01:54.1
10. Barrett Long (Ducati) 01:54.1
11. Jake Zemke (Yamaha) 01:54.1
12. Taylor Knapp (Suzuki) 01:54.1
13. Cory West (Suzuki) 01:54.1
14. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 01:54.2
15. Bostjan Skubic (Yamaha) 01:54.5
16. Dane Westby (Suzuki) 01:54.5
19. Joey Pascarella (Yamaha) 01:56.4
22. Huntley Nash (Yamaha) 01:57.1
24. Melissa Paris (Yamaha) 01:57.8
25. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) 01:58.0

Motorcycle-Superstore AMA SuperSport

Yamaha rider Miles Thornton headlined the AMA SuperSport class in Thursday qualifying, the up-and-comer’s support class sponsored this season by Motorcycle Superstore.

“It went really good,” said Thorton. “I was really focused coming into this, and I’m really focused this year more than last year…. This is my year to win the championship in SuperSport. I just tried to use everyone I could to draft and try to get those couple more tenths, and when I saw I was in the lead, I was so happy—I’ve never been in the lead in the class before.”

Also riding an R6, with Yamaha dominating the class in 2010, was rising road-racing star Hayden Gillim, cousin to Nicky Hayden. Stefano Mesa was third-fastest, riding a Ducati, with ’10 contender Tomas Puerta fifth-fastest aboard the Yamaha.

AMA SuperSport Daytona Thursday Qualifying:
1. Miles Thornton (Yamaha) 01:54.9
2. Hayden Gillim (Yamaha) 01:55.3
3. Stefano Mesa (Ducati) 01:55.6
4. Tomas Puerta (Yamaha) 01:55.6
5. David Gaviria (Yamaha) 01:55.8
6. Benny Solis (Honda) 01:55.9
7. Eric Stump (Yamaha) 01:56.1
8. Dustin Dominguez (Aprilia) 01:56.1
9. James Rispoli (Suzuki) 01:56.5
10. Elena Myers (Suzuki) 01:56.9
11. Ricky Parker (Yamaha) 01:57.3
12. Emerson Connor (Ducati) 01:57.4
13. Jacob Morman (Yamaha) 01:57.6
14. Brad Graham (Ducati) 01:57.8
15. Charlie Long (Suzuki) 01:58.2

XR1200

Former Daytona 200 winner, Steve Rapp, set the pace on XR1200 Thursday, lapping more than 1.5 seconds quicker than the second-fastest rider, Michael Barnes. (Our Road Test Editor did almost as good keeping Rapp in sight during the Superpole qualifying in our recent Superbike Smackdown track testing!)

“I had a lot of ideas [about the XR1200 class] and heard a lot of things about it,” said Rapp. “I was actually kind of nervous, surprisingly. I did probably ten or eleven laps this session just figuring out where to shift, where I could break at, so it was just a total learning experience. From the first lap to the last lap, I was just taking it all in, trying to figure out how to go fast.”

Retired Flat Tracker and former GNC champ Joe Kopp was third-fastest. Mr. Daytona himself, Scott Russell, was eight-fastest on the high banks, with H-D media relations guru Paul James punching in some overtime at tenth-fastest.

XR1200 Daytona Thursday Qualifying:
1. Steve Rapp (Harley-Davidson) 2:08.317
2. Michael Barnes (Harley-Davidson) 2:09.832
3. Joe Kopp (Harley-Davidson) 2:10.673
4. Chase McFarland (Harley-Davidson) 2:11.700
5. Travis Wyman (Harley-Davidson) 2:11.950
6. Chris Fillmore (Harley-Davidson) 2:11.975
7. David Estok (Harley-Davidson) 2:12.707
8. Scott Russell (Harley-Davidson) 2:13.042
9. Kyle Wyman (Harley-Davidson) 2:13.159
10. Paul James (Harley-Davidson) 2:13.213