Yamaha's Josh Hayes put an end to the Suzuki stranglehold in AMA Superbike with his first-ever class victory on Saturday at Infineon Raceway.
The improbable happened on Saturday afternoon at the twisty 2.32-mile Infineon Raceway as Factory Yamaha Superbike rider Josh Hayes earned his first career class victory over Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden and Foremost Insurance Ducati’s Larry Pegram.
At the start, Suzuki’s Mat Mladin and Yamaha’s Ben Bostrom battled for the lead with the R1 pilot making a bold move on Mladin going into Turn 1 right in front of the grandstands on Lap 3 and that’s when things started to get interesting. Bostrom’s teammate Josh Hayes followed suit and put a move on Mat through the treacherous Carousel and the boys in blue started to put some distance on the veteran Makita pilot for the rest of the lap. But Boz’s glory wouldn’t last long when, heading into Turn 11, Bostrom low-sided out of the lead, handing the position over to Hayes who then put his head down and check out, taking the win by a six-second margin over Mladin’s teammate Tommy Hayden and Foremost Insurance Ducati’s Larry Pegram.
"It was a pretty good day," said Hayes. "I think the pace was slower than any of us expected and the heat played a role. I was feeling things out (at first) and I saw Ben (Bostrom) being aggressive and then he had his miscue. Mat had some problems; it was not his race today. We all have bad races and Mat had his. I expect tomorrow that will not be an issue for Mat."
The win halted Mladin’s winning streak at seven and proves the Yosh/Makita/Mladin juggernaut can be beat. But it doesn’t happen often: This is the first win for Yamaha at Infineon since 2001, the first win by someone riding anything other than a Suzuki at this venue since Duhamel did it on a Honda in 2004 and the first time anyone other than Mladin has won in 2009.
"“We were able to run a great race today. The torque on the Ducati made it really easy to go through corners slowly then whack the gas open for a good corner exit. If I can fault anything it would be the track being really greasy and I was sliding the front tire all over the place. We haven’t had a chance to practice in this kind of heat yet so I also came away with few ideas for our setup in tomorrow’s race.” - Larry Pegram
"Obviously, I've had better days," said Mladin. "That's racing. We just didn't hit on the set-up today. We've had seven wins in a row, and we can't complain. We've done a fantastic job. We'll try to keep it together and get back up there tomorrow. "
Tommy Hayden, who sits second in the championship battle, made sure a Suzuki was still on the podium though.
"It went pretty well for me," said Hayden. "I got a good start behind Mat and I was happy with that. I thought I would sit there and let him try and pull me along for a while. That's usually a good plan. But it looked like he was fighting things hard today. Ben (Bostrom) came by quick and I knew he had a little bit more speed (than Mladin). As the race went on it got hot and greasy, but it didn't get a whole lot worse. I was able to do the same lap times and it looked like it got easier for me. I just got through it and wanted to bring it home second. Josh (Hayes) had a big lead and I didn't have anything for him today."
Larry Pegram visited the podium for the first time since Race 2 at Fontana earlier this year.
"The race went good, everybody was sliding around and greasy," said Pegram. "Everybody had to dial it down a notch. I passed Tommy (Hayden), and then had the best pass of my life when I passed Mat (Mladin) on the outside of Turn 6 in the carousel. After that, things got pretty slippery and I'm really happy to be up on the podium today."
Daytona SportBike Results
Cardenas picked up his fourth win of the season on Saturday.
The 2009 Daytona SportBike race stumbled out of the gate with an accident that brought out the pace car for four laps – and when racing resumed it was M4 Suzuki’s Jason Disalvo who jumped out to an early lead before crashing out in Turn 11. That handed the reigns over to Bazzaz Yamaha’s Steve Rapp who would hold off Cardenas until Lap 12. Once past the R6 rider, Cardenas went on to win his third consecutive event and fourth race of the year.
"Things went really good and the bike worked very good since the beginning," said Cardenas. "The heat was very tough this race for me because physically it wears you out a lot. I started seventh and had to work my way up; as soon as I got to second behind Steve (Rapp) I tried to stay a little behind him, but then I decided to pass him. I tried to put a gap on him because I know he's really strong here. I tried my best and put a gap of one second and tried to maintain that the whole race."
Monster Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking ran off the course on Turn 1 of the restart, falling several positions. But the Championship points leader showed his grit and managed to fight his way back throught the field to end in second.
Monster Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking ran off the course on the restart but made his way through the field, tracked down the leaders and put the pass on Rapp in Turn 9 on the final lap and staked his claim to second place. Rapp would finish third.
"It is a little frustrating for me," said Hacking, referring to his four second-place efforts this season. "I definitely would have liked to have won a lot more races, but (Daytona SportBike) is a good class for me. With the equal playing field now it's just a little harder. I just need to step up my game and quit making the mistakes I'm making. I can't get too antsy about winning. Without winning a race we're doing well."
SuperSport Qualifying Results:
Monster Energy Attack kKawasaki’s Leandro Mercado claimed pole for Sunday’s SuperSport race ahead of Graves Yamaha’s Ricky Parker and Roadracingworld.com’s Russ Wikle.
"I'm happy," said Mercado. "This is my first pole of the season. The last couple of laps I, could do good laps and work a bit on the bike. The bike worked awesome and I like the track. I like the elevation changes. We're happy and I want to say thanks to my team for all the work, and (teammate) Jamie Hacking for the help."
Action concludes on Sunday in Sonoma with the second main events for Daytona SportBike (2 p.m.) and Superbike (4 p.m.). There will also be a main event for SuperSport (3 p.m.), plus a full day of Supermoto racing (XTRM AMA Supermoto National Championships). Gates open at 8 a.m. and tickets are available.
AMA Superbike Results:
The American Superbike Race 1 podium was Mladin-free (left to right
): Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) in second, Josh Hayes (Yamaha) with the win, with Larry Pegram (Ducati) third.
1. (4) Josh Hayes; Yamaha Motor Corp. USA; 22.
2. (22) Tommy Hayden; Rockstar Makita · Suzuki; 22.
3. (72) Larry Pegram; Foremost Pegram Ducati; 22.
4. (23) Aaron Yates; Jordan Suzuki; 22.
5. (7) Mat Mladin; Rockstar Makita Suzuki; 22.
6. (44) Taylor Knapp; Taylor Knapp Racing; 22.
7. (25) David Anthony; Aussie Dave Racing; 22.
8. (18) Chris Ulrich; Roadracingworld.com Suzuki; 22.
9. (2) Ben Bostrom; Yamaha Motor Corp. USA; 22.
10. (62) Cory Call; MDK Motorsports; 22.
11. (47) Mark Crozier; Four Feathers Racing Suzuki; 22.
12. (61) Scott Jensen; Moto Garage Racing Suzuki; 22.
13. (121) Hawk Mazzotta; Aussie Dave Racing; 22.
14. (96) Aaron Gobert; Team Trifoglio Racing; 21.
15. (54) Geoff May; National Guard Jordan Suzuki; 21.
16. (38) Dean Mizdal; M Racing Suzuki; 21.
17. (58) Eric Haugo; Moto Garage Racing Yamaha; 21.
18. (269) Johnny Rock Page; Johnny Rock Page Yamaha; 21.
19. (45) Brad Puetz; SRK Racing Suzuki; 21.
20. (27) Ryan Elleby; Four Feathers Racing Yamaha; 19.
21. (59) Jake Holden; Holden Racing Honda; 6.
Daytona SuperBike Race 1 podium (left to right
): Steve Rapp (No. 15 Yamaha) in third, Martin Cardenas (No. 36 Suzuki) with the win, followed by Jamie Hacking (No. 88 Kawasaki).
22. (102) Mark Simon; X Dot Racing Suzuki; 6.
23. (100) Neil Hodgson; Corona Extra Honda Honda; 4.
Daytona SportBike Results:
1. Martin Cardenas; M4 Suzuki GSX-R600
2. Jamie Hacking; Attack Kawasaki ZX-6R
3. Steve Rapp; Bazzaz Yamaha R6
4. Chaz Davies; Millennium Technologies Aprilia
5. Danny Eslick; RMR Buell 1125R
6. Tommy Aquino; Graves Yamaha R6
7. Chris Peris; Erion Racing Honda CBR600RR
8. Jake Zemke; Erion Racing Honda CBR600RR
9. Roger Hayden; Attack Kawasaki ZX-6R
10. Chris Fillmore; CF Racing Yamaha R6