Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden won Race 2 at Infineon and will attempt to pressure Josh Hayes at MMP, who currently leads the AMA Superbike series by six points.
Miller Motorsports Park in Utah will host Round 3 of the 2011 AMA Pro Road Racing series in conjunction with the only U.S. round of the FIM World Superbike Championship on Memorial Day weekend. The AMA will make its return to MMP for the first time since cancelling the event back in 2009. There’s a full slate of races on the schedule including the AMA Pro National Guard Superbike, Daytona Sportbike, Motorcycle-Superstore.com Supersport and Vance & Hines XR1200 classes. Practice and qualifying will take place on Saturday with the Supersport & XR classes racing on Sunday. World Superbike, American Superbike and Daytona Sportbike will all take place on Monday.
AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike
In the American Superbike class there isn’t a rider in the 40-man field who made an impact the last time the AMA showed up at MMP. Long gone are the old-guards of AMA Superbike including Mat Mladin, Ben Spies, Miguel Duhamel, Neil Hodgson, Aaron Yates and Jamie Hacking. The new era of American Superbike will be on display with names like Hayes, Hayden and Young trying to make a name for themselves.
Right now, Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden comes into the three-mile long MMP circuit hot on the heels of his Race 2 victory at Infineon Raceway. The oldest of the Hayden brothers is looking to close the gap on Hayes and put some distance between himself and his hard-charging teammate, Blake Young, after a well-deserved win in Nor Cal
Defending American Superbike Champion Josh Hayes has put his Monster Energy/Grave Yamaha R1 on the podium at every race in the 2011 season. Will his streak continue?
earlier this month. The Yoshimura-built GSX-R1000 proved to be one of the stronger bikes and Hayden has always been strong at that track. But he was a full second off the pace during testing at MMP as Hayes, Young and Larry Pegram were all faster.
Defending Superbike champion Hayes is six-points ahead of Hayden going into this weekend on a track he has had success on in the past. Most recently, Hayes finished fastest in AMA practice last month and actually made the podium back in ’08 behind Jake Zemke in the now defunct Formula Xtreme class. There were questions about a lack of outright speed from Hayes’ Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha R1 after Hayden out-motored him at Infineon, so it will be interesting to see what the powerhouse Graves squad brings to Miller when the whole world is watching.
The wild card or dark horse riders this weekend will be Pegram and Steve Rapp, both of whom are on the BMW S1000RR. These bikes are fast and the riders are determined to make a good impression with so much exposure coming from the combined WSBK and AMA weekend. At Infineon, hard-working Rapp went 6-4 with the popular Pegram on his tail with a 7-5 result. Pegram was quick in testing and Rapp has been fast at MMP for a long time.
Y.E.S. LTD Yamaha’s Tomas Puerta currently leads the Motorcycle-Superstore.com AMA SuperSport Championship.
Although the SpeedTV spotlight will be on the Superbike classes, the Motorcycle-Superstore.com AMA Pro SuperSport Championship will receive some special treatment in the form of bonus payout and expanded entries to accommodate the local racing talent. A live broadcast on SPEED2 will also be offered for race fans eager to get a look at the up and coming talent. The Supersport class will run alongside the popular Larry H. Miller Challenge which lures in plenty of riders from the Utah Sport Bike Association who hope their track knowledge will overcome the talent of the full-time Supersport racers. Expect to see YES Yamaha LTD Racing’s Tomas Puerta and David Gaviria to be running at the front along with Benny Solis and his Roadracingworld.com CBR600RR.
Teammates Gaviria and Puerta split wins in the opening round at Daytona then backed that up with podium finishes at Infineon where no one seemed to have an answer for double winner Benny Solis. Solis took Race 1 at Infineon ahead of Puerta and Gaviria, then assterted himself as a championship contender in these early stages of the season with another win in Race 2. Puerta was runner-up in both races on his R6.
Latus Ducati’s Jason DiSalvo is currently undefeated in the Daytona SportBike series and will be tough to beat at Miller.
In Daytona Sportbike the big question is who will step up and beat Latus Motors Racing Ducati’s Jason DiSalvo. The L-Twin powered 848 EVO has proven to be too much for the Inline Fours in the first three races of the season. DiSalvo started off the season with a controversial victory in the prestigious Daytona 200, but dispelled any thoughts that his win was a fluke with an impressive double victory at Infineon.
The two riders who seemed poised to take down the Latus Racing team are GEICO Suzuki’s Danny Eslick, Monster Energy/Graves Yamaha bad boy Josh Herrin and DNA Ducati’s Jake Holden whose bad luck kept him from challenging DiSalvo for the wins in Sonoma.
Former DSB champion Eslick and Herrin have been fierce competitors in DSB the past few years, and before DiSalvo emerged as a contender, the expectation was the ’11 title would come down to these two riders. Eslick got the better of Herrin in Race 2 at Infoneon (Herrin was suspended for Race1 after his role in the Daytona 200 crash) , but neither rider put the type of pressure on DiSalvo that Jake Holden did. Unfortunately for Holden, he ran off the track early in Race 1, yet he still made his way through the field where he finished second. Then a spectacular crash in Race 2 resulted in a DNF but things could have been much worse. If Holden stays consistent he should challenge for a win in what has become the most exciting class in the series.
Vance & Hines XR1200
Chris Fillmore leads the XR1200 series by 17 points and is fresh off a win.
The Vance & Hines XR1200 class will make an appearance at MMP as well. The all-Harley championship features some close racing week in and week out with Chris Fillmore, Michael Barnes and our own Superbike Smackdown ringer, Steve Rapp battling for the wins.
Speed TV will provide a special highlight from Miller Motorsports Park on Monday, May 30 12:00 a.m. ET, and May 31 at 12:00 a.m. ET. SpeedTV will also broadcast the Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport and Vance & Hines XR1200 contests live on SPEED2 on Sunday. Click here for more information on SPEED2 coverage.
World Superbike Race 1 & 2 will air May 30 at 5:00 & 6:00 p.m. ET.