AMA Pro Road Racing Miller Preview 2013

July 31, 2013
Byron Wilson
Byron Wilson
Associate Editor|Articles|Articles RSS

Byron's sure to be hunched over a laptop after the checkers are flown, caught in his own little version of heaven. Whether on dirt, street or a combination of both, MotoUSA's newest addition knows the only thing better than actually riding is telling the story of how things went down.

AMA Pro Road Racing stops at Miller Motorsports Park outside Salt Lake City in Utah for Round 6 of the 2013 season. Monster Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes will push for his seventh and potentially eighth SuperBike race wins of the year at a track that he’s been strong at in the past. In the Daytona SportBike ranks, Yamaha Extended Service’s Cameron Beaubier will fight to tie the all-time season win record in the class. SuperSport West Division and Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series riders will also battle over the full weekend that, for the first time ever will be AMA Pro only, not shared with World Superbike or MotoGP as it has in the past.

National Guard SuperBike

Hayes is on pace to secure his fourth consecutive SuperBike title, which would class him as the only rider to ever do so in the series’ history. He won at Miller during his first visit to the track in 2006 in the Formula Extreme class and took a decisive victory there in the single SuperBike race run in 2012. He’s hit a few snags this season, which account for the relatively slim 11 point advantage he holds over second-place rider and teammate Josh Herrin, but overall Hayes has been unstoppable. The Mississippi native’s smooth, consistent performance throughout the previous rounds has thwarted the best efforts of Herrin, Yoshimura Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas and National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Roger Hayden.

Herrin, especially, has pushed with an almost desperate abandon at times to keep pace with Hayes during races and it has paid off. He sits well within reach of recovering the top-spot in the championship should Hayes’ pace falter, and has shown himself to be one of the few riders on the grid able to keep the defending champion in his sights for more than the opening laps. Cardenas, while more measured than Herrin in his riding style on the GSX-R1000, has been no less effective in running with the lead pack. The Colombian rider has been on the podium in all but one race this year and sits just 16 points adrift of the leader entering the round at Miller.

Hayden has suffered a few strokes of bad luck that have contributed to a particularly frustrating season. The Suzuki ace has matched or bettered Hayes’ pace during a number of qualifying and practice sessions, and has spent many laps contending for podium position in the lead pack. A few crashes and, as in the previous round at Laguna, mechanical failures have stymied his chances to give Hayes a race-long run for his money. Hayden’s teammate, Danny Eslick, hasn’t earned a trip to the podium, but has finished consistently between fourth and eighth place in all races and as a result moved one position higher than Hayden in the championship tally at Laguna.

Pegram Racing’s Larry Pegram, KTM/HMC’s Chris Fillmore, Team Hero’s Geoff May and his teammate Aaron Yates have provided some entertaining battles outside the top-five over the past rounds and will likely be challenging for similar results at Miller.

Daytona SportBike

Beaubier would need to sweep the round at Miller to match the class record for most wins in the season, but considering he’s lost just one race this year and enters the round having won the previous five races, it doesn’t appear to be a tall order. Former Daytona SportBike rider, Cardenas, holds the current season title with nine race wins.

Beaubier has been methodical in his approach, starting from pole position in every round so far but many times falling outside the top-three during the first laps. In such cases, he has been patient in picking off riders one-by-one, often in similar fashion through the same turns, and once out front maintains or even increases his pace, making it impossible for other riders on the grid to catch him. He placed third at Miller in 2012 behind Cardenas and DiSalvo, but is the odds-on favorite to take the top step this year.

RoadRace Factory’s Jake Gagne remains the only other rider in the class to have a win to his credit, and he sits second overall, 56 points behind Beaubier. His teammate, JD Beach, is third in the championship tally and has shown marked improvement over his performance in 2012. Beach has been fifth or better in every race of the current season and will be fighting to continue the trend at Miller, where he placed seventh last year.

Beaubier’s teammate, Garrett Gerloff, earned his second trip to the podium this year at Laguna, prevailing in a close battle with Gagne for the runner-up spot. Gerloff is fourth in the points standings, just five behind Beach.

The SportBike grid is stacked though, and there are a number of riders that could make their way into podium position should everything click at Miller. Latus Motors Racing’s Jason DiSalvo, GEICO Motorcycle’s Dane Westby, National Guard’s James Rispoli and Meen Motorsports’ Jake Lewis have each had high and low points during the current season, but all are inside the top-10 in points. SuperSport West

California Superbike School’s Joe Roberts will be back on track at Miller, much to the chagrin of the rest of the field. Roberts entered his first ever AMA Pro race at Barber and promptly swept the round. He nearly repeated the feat at Laguna Seca, racing at the track for the first time in his career and winning all but pole position. RoadRace Factory’s Tomas Puerta put up one of the most spirited fights of the year trying to get the best of Roberts, but fell to second in the final corner of the race.

East Division points leader Corey Alexander finished third at Laguna and returns to battle with the field at Miller. He was the only other rider to keep pace with Puerta and Roberts at the California track, finishing just two-tenths of a second off the lead.

Team 95’s Hayden Gillim, also an East Division rider, won the SuperSport race at Miller in 2012 and may be a threat for a podium finish this year.’s Stefano Mesa will be fighting to break his way back into the top-three as well.

Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series

The Vance & Hines Harley-Davidson Series got a weekend of rest while the other classes battled at Laguna Seca, but returns to action at Miller with Aerostar Global’s Steve Rapp the man to beat. Rapp enjoys a three race win-streak and a 15 point advantage over second-place rider Michael Barnes of Spyke’s Harley-Davidson. Rapp and Barnes went one and two at the last round of competition in Ohio, followed by Eco-Fuel Saver’s Tyler O’Hara in third. O’Hara also sits third in the championship tally, two points behind Barnes. Suburban Motors Harley-Davidson’s Benjamin Carlson and Harv’s Harley-Davidson’s Travis Wyman, will likely battle with the three points front-runners for a spot on the podium at Miller.

AMA Pro SuperBike and Daytona SportBike both air on CBS Sports Network. On Saturday August 3, 2013, SuperBike Race 1 will air live at 5:00pm ET followed by a same day delayed broadcast of Daytona SportBike Race 1 at 6:00pm ET. On Sunday, both SportBike and SuperBike will be aired live, with DSB Race 2 starting at 3:00pm ET and SuperBike coming directly after at 4:00pm ET. Check out AMA Pro Live as well for streaming options for SuperSport and Harley-Davidson Series action.