AMA Pro road racers made their way to beautiful northern California’s wine country over the weekend for Round 3 of the AMA Superbike Championship at Infineon Raceway. The beautiful weather made for some great racing action all weekend long in every class.
Monster Energy Yamaha Pilot Josh Hayes (bottom) secured the win in Race 1 on Saturday but a crash on the first lap of Race 2 left the door wide open for Yoshimura Suzuki's Blake Young (top) to score the victory and the points lead.
rode an amazing race in the first American SuperBike event on Saturday. The defending champion dominated from start to finish and taking the checkered flag with a 10-second margin of victory over rival Blake Young and the Yoshimura Suzuki. Hayes rode flawlessly on his Monster Energy Yamaha R1
and looked to be in prime postion to put even more distance between he and Young in the points chase heading into Sunday's race.
“When you have a bike this good, the rider is the weak link and I’m the only one that could screw it up and I’m glad I didn’t,” Hayes stated post-race.
and Danny Eslick had a pretty intense battle for second place on Saturday with Young eventually finishing runner-up. Although a second would have been better, Eslick earned the new Erik Buell Racing team its first podium of the season.
“The Team Hero EBR 1190RS, everybody over there, my teammate Geoff May, everybody just working together and really trying to get this bike developed and I think this shows we’ve come somewhere with it.” said an ecstatic Eslick in the post race press conference.
Race 2 was a different story for the Yamaha squad. It went bad early when Hayes tossed down his Yamaha R1 on the first lap. He quickly remounted and got back into the race in an effort to salvage some points, which he did by bringing it home in seventh-place. That wasn't the only drama for Yamaha as Josh Herrin
had a solid run going until he lost a cylinder with six laps remaining. Herrin tried to baby the R1 to the end of the race but it eventually gave out.
Geoff May (pictured) and Danny Eslick scored the Hero EBR crew a pair of podium finishes over the weekend in SuperBike.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Blake Young would go on to win the race with National Guard Suzuki's Roger Hayden just behind. The second place finish was the best of the year for a Michael Jordan-backed squad that was looking for a reason to stay positive after struggling in the opening rounds.
"It was a good weekend," explained Hayden. "On Sunday I got a pretty good start and I tried to stay with the guys in front. I was riding on the edge, trying to keep up and I was starting to slide all over the place and go back a little bit. When another rider came by me, I hung on with him and tried to wait for the last few laps and we had a fun battle on the last half of the track. We missed the podium in Atlanta and we struggled earlier this weekend, so it was nice to finish up the weekend on a good note."
Geoff May rounded out the box and for the second day in a row, giving EBR another podium finish and capping off what may very well be the coming out party for the EBR team. We can only imagine how stoked Erik Buell is at this point of the season.
Some of the biggest news . of the weekend hits close to home for the MotoUSA crew. Our Superbike Smackdown ringer and current Motorcycle-Superstore.com
/Attack Performance rider Steve Rapp broke his wrist, although, it was not aboard his fire-breathing American SuperBike. Rapp was asked to replace defending TTXGP champion Steve Atlas on the Brammo Empulse RR electric motorcycle. Atlas having been seriously injured the day before in a high-side crash so Rapp was recruited to fill his seat. Unfortunately the talented Mr. Rapp was tossed off of the bike during qualifying and his weekend came to an untimely end. There is talk that he may be healed up in time for the next round so we will keep you posted as more info becomes available. Atlas suffered compression fractures of several vertebrae but reports are that he will be fine.
Triumph mounted rider Jason DiSalvo (40) and Geico Suzuki's Martin Cardenas (36) were both victorious in the Daytona Sportbike class at Infineon.
Saturday’s Daytona SportBike race was a wild one with an intense battle between Martin Cardenas and Jason DiSalvo changing positions quite a few times during the 22-lap event. Cardenas would end up with the victory over DiSalvo and Graves Yamaha rider Cameron Beaubier, who returned from injury.
Race 2 didn’t go as smooth as the first one. Ducati mounted rider Jake Zemke took a pretty intense tumble in Turn 2 right off of the start, getting pushed onto the inside curbing bringing his 848 off the ground into a harsh get-off. The crash would end his day. Race 1 winner Cardenas would also have a scary crash heading into the switchback portion of the track when he lost the front and slid directly into a wall. The Geico Suzuki rider luckily avoided serious injury after the high-speed get off.
Third-place finisher in Race 1, Beaubier, sat out Sunday’s events due to his knee injury he sustained just after Daytona. We sat down and asked why he chose not to ride.
“It was just too much on my knee,” said the Yamaha R6 Pilot. “Infineon is a very physically demanding track and because of my injury I have not been able to work out like I normally do. I could feel my knee locking up during Race 1 and I was not sure if I would even make it to the end but thankfully I did.”
Cameron also said he would be working with his physical therapist Tuan Nguyen and TKB Sports Medicine to ensure he is ready for Round 4 at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah.
Triumph's Dustin Dominguez (68) took the victory in Saturday's SuperSport race but Monster Energy Suzuki ace James Rispoli (1) rebounded with a win on Sunday.
It was Dustin Dominguez Day on Saturday taking his first win of 2012 in the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Supersport class just barely over second place finisher James Rispoli by 0.170 seconds. The two riders kept close over the entire 18-lap event providing for some exciting racing. Riders Discount Suzuki mounted Jake Lewis took home a third-place finish on the day closely trailing the two front runners across the finish line.
“I felt good the whole race,” said the Triumph pilot. “I knew James was back there and felt I had more left in me in case we started racing. The team did an awesome job.”
A big crash on Lap 4 would call for a red flag when Hayden Gillim and Cam Gish went down in Turn 1. Gillim was able to get up unharmed while Gish was transported to the hospital with multiple fractures in his pelvis.
Race 2 would see Rispoli and Dominguez switch finishing positions from Race 1 while Tomas Puerta rounded out the final spot on the podium.
VANCE & HINES XR1200
Michael Barnes (center) Tyler O'Hara (right) and Kyle Wyman (left) rounded out the Vance & Hines XR1200 podium.
The Harley boys once again provided a close and fun race for the fans in the Vance & Hines XR1200 Series. Pole position went to KLR Group rider Kyle Wyman but when the flag dropped it was Bartel’s Harley-Davidson
Teammates Tyler O'Hara and Michael Barnes at the front. O'Hara would lead the entire race until the last stretch across the line when his XR1200 would miss a shift giving the lead to Barnes.
“I was having so much fun out there trying to keep Barney behind me,” said O'Hara. “I missed a shift, it’s a Harley thing and it happens but I’m glad my teammate was able to bring home the win.”
As for Michael Barnes, the win would be his first professional AMA victory since 1996. It just goes to show that after over 10 years, winning at a professional level is still an option.
Make sure to check out the next round of AMA Pro Road Racing coming up at the end of the month at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah May 26-28. Round 4 will be held in conjunction with the World Superbike Series so be sure to watch and check back for race reports and updates.