LEXINGTON, OHIO (July 19, 2009) - Josh Hayes claimed the second AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited win of his career, while Eslick earned his fourth AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL victory at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in the first of two doubleheader races at the Honda Super Cycle Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire.
Hayes started from pole position on his No. 4 Yamaha Motor Corp. USA Yamaha R1 and lost the lead only once during the 21-lap sprint race on the 2.4-mile track, falling behind the No. 79 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 of Blake Young in Turn 2 on the first lap. After several attempts at passing Young in Turn 6, Hayes changed his strategy and made the move stick in Turn 1 on Lap 6. The Mississippi native was pressured lap after lap for the remaining fifteen circuits, holding off the pack by just .183 seconds at the finish.
"It started off pretty crazy," said Hayes, whose first American Superbike win came earlier this season at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. "I started off pretty good through Turn 1 and just got trounced before I got to the keyhole, then Blake kind of got out there and took off and ran. It took me a little while to get my wits about me and get to him and get through there and then I just tried to ride smooth, and I just had a lot of fun. It was a good race. There was a lot of pressure the whole way, and the last lap was right up there with every other lap."
Aaron Yates mounted a late-race charge on the No. 23 Brand Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000, overtaking Young in Turn 6 on Lap 15 and running nose-to-tail with Hayes before getting caught up by a lapped rider on Lap 17. Yates cleared the lapped traffic and turned the fastest lap of the race at 1:25.666 on Lap 20 but was unable to take the top spot, finishing in second.
"I felt pretty good about the end of the race, but it was tough getting by a couple guys," said Yates. "We ran up on some lappers just kind of cruising along that wanted to race with the leaders and kind of gave a little gap to Josh there for a little while, but it was fun at the end being able to chase him down. I felt like if I had some clear track, I could have caught back up but I just ran out of laps."
Six-time American Superbike champion Mat Mladin finished third on the No. 7 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000. Mladin struggled in qualifying and started from ninth before steadily working his way through the field, passing teammate Young on Lap 16 for the final spot on the podium.
"These guys were running a good pace," said Mladin, who has claimed victory in 10 of the season's 13 races. "It's one thing to be able to get up there, but it's another thing to get past. We couldn't do it today and that was it. Obviously it would have made it easier to be a little bit closer on the start. That's the way it goes, we just didn't have the pace today."
Hayes' teammate Ben Bostrom finished fourth on the No. 2 Yamaha Motor Corp. USA Yamaha R1 and local favorite and hometown rider Larry Pegram, who hails from Columbus, Ohio, finished fifth aboard the No. 22 Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing Ducati 1098R. Hayden finished sixth in the race and currently trails Mladin by 133 points in the American Superbike point standings, 376-243.
David Anthony (No. 25 Aussie Dave Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000) was involved in an on-track incident during Saturday morning's American Superbike Final Qualifying session. Anthony was evaluated by the track medical center before being transported to MedCentral in Mansfield, Ohio for further evaluation.
Johnny Rock Page has been suspended for the remainder of the Mid-Ohio event, in addition to the Heartland Park Topeka round, for failure to acknowledge the blue flag during the American Superbike race and subsequently impeding the progress of the race leaders.
Saturday's AMA Pro American Superbike race can be seen on SPEED Sunday at 1 p.m. ET (10 a.m. PT). Sunday's American Superbike race will close the weekend and will run at 4:00 p.m. local time.
Eslick Takes Win Number Four in Daytona SportBike
Danny Eslick grabbed his fourth career AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL victory on the No. 9 GEICO Powersports/RMR Buell 1125R in Race One of the Honda Super Cycle Weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Eslick started the day strong by claiming the pole in Saturday morning's final qualifying effort. The grid was set by that result as the weekend's basic qualifying and Superpole sessions were canceled due to a Friday afternoon rain shower. By the end of the race's first lap, Eslick had built up a .551 second lead over the No. 88 Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R of Jamie Hacking, who steadily chipped away at the lead over the ensuing laps before taking the point in Turn 6 on Lap 7. Hacking held the lead for two laps until mechanical troubles sidelined him for the race on Lap 9.
"I got a good start, right off the bat and led a couple of laps," said Eslick. "I didn't see anybody coming through, which usually happens as everybody's really aggressive the first few laps. I knew we had kind of pulled away and then Jamie came by. I think I was on the brakes the first time and he came up. He came by me and we battled back and forth for a lap or two and when he had his problem, I almost ran up his exhaust pipe. He did a good job getting his hand up and out of the way, so good job there. It could have been real ugly in that spot."
Graves Yamaha teammates Josh Herrin and Tommy Aquino held an aggressive battle for position throughout the 21-lap sprint race. At the end of the first lap, Aquino's No. 6 Yamaha YZF-R6 led Herrin's No. 8 Yamaha YZF-R6 to the line, but the rookie couldn't hold the position and was passed by Herrin on Lap 2. The Graves duo moved up the ranks as attrition hit riders Hacking and Martin Cardenas, who was running in third position aboard the No. 36 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600 before low siding at the exit of Turn 8 on Lap 5. Aquino was able to squeeze by Herrin again on Lap 9 before Herrin used a block pass on Lap 10 to get by both Aquino and Jake Zemke's No. 1X Erion Honda CBR600RR to take second position.
"I think when (Tommy) passed me, he went to put a move on Jake going into (Turn) 5 on the brakes and I just decided I am going to get both these guys and just dove in there and made a move," said Herrin. "It wasn't purposefully a block pass, but it sort of ended up being a block pass. I just rode defensive from there and luckily we held on to second."
Aquino was also able to get past Zemke, challenging Herrin for the remainder of the race and allowing Eslick to slip away to a 2.318 second lead by the end of the race. The third place finish was Aquino's his first AMA Pro podium finish.
"It was really hard," said Aquino. "I was going as hard as I could, my tires were spent and I was just trying as hard as I could to stay where I was at and try to take a position if I could. I am really happy with this podium. It is my first podium with AMA Pro Racing. I really just have to thank my team."
Zemke turned the fastest lap of the race in Lap 6 at 1:28.160 and ran as high as second before finishing fourth. Chaz Davies rounded out the top five on the No. 57 Factory Aprilia Millennium Technologies Team Aprilia RSV1000R. Points leader Cardenas recovered to finish 12th and holds the championship lead over Eslick 264-244.
Saturday's race can be seen on SPEED Sunday at 12:00 p.m. ET (9 a.m. PT). Race Two for Daytona SportBike in this weekend's Honda Super Cycle Weekend presented by Dunlop Tires goes off Sunday at 2:00 p.m. local time.
Westby Racing Takes SunTrust Moto-GT Win
Youth prevailed in Saturday's AMA Pro SunTrust Moto-GT race as the No. 13 Westby Racing Yamaha YZF-R6 of Dane Westby and Dustin Meador led the field to the checkered flag with Cory Rech and Huntley Nash taking Moto-GT2 honors and third overall on the No. 38 Touring Sport Ducshop Ducati PS1000LE.
The lead changed hands seven times before the No. 13 Yamaha took over the top spot for the second and final time on Lap 41 of the 76 lap event, claiming the point from the No. 14 Crozier Motorsports Triumph Daytona 675 entry of Mark Crozier and Scott Jensen.
"Dane put together a good first ride, and then I went out and just tried to stay as consistent as I could," said Meador. "We were just glad to put it on the box our first time out, so it feels good."
Meador crossed the finish line 52.954 seconds ahead of the Crozier on the No. 14 Triumph. A slow pit stop by the No. 14 team gave Westby and Meador the cushion they needed to run uncontested to the finish.
"I tried to get it done on the first stint and hand it over to Dustin," said Westby. "I knew he would take care of business and, of course, turned a faster lap than I did. Mark was giving me some trouble and I thought it was going to be a battle to the end, but they had to make another pit stop and that's just how it works out."
Crozier Motorsports won the third round of the Moto-GT season at Barber Motorsports Park earlier this year and was just nine points from the championship-leading No. 41 Liberty Waves Racing heading into this round.
"When Mark was dong his second stint on the bike he was running them down," said Jensen. "He was a tenth or two behind them for a while and when we came in for our last stop, we had a couple things go wrong with the bike. Mark lost the right throttle grip. Just coming back from a broken arm I didn't much feel like riding a bike that didn't have a right grip on it, so Mark went out on the last stint as well."
Saturday's second place finish for the No. 14 Triumph closed the points gap to two points, 86-84, as the No. 41 entry finished in fourth.
"Everybody did a great job," said Crozier. "Hats off to our crew and Scott and everybody else. If we can be on the box every weekend, we are in it for the championship."
Crossing third in class was the James Gang-Hoban Brothers Racing duo of Jeff Johnson and Paul James on the No. 70 Buell 1125R.
Moto-GT2 winners Rech and Nash completed 74 laps to finish ahead of teammates and pole-sitters Frank Shockley and Ryan Elleby on the No. 77 Touring Sport Ducshop Ducati PS1000LE.
"They told me to go for it when I was starting so I just went for it," said Rech. "I put my head down and got some pretty good laps."
"It was a good race," said Nash. "Corey went out first and he did really good. I went out second for another hour. It didn't really feel like it was an hour, it was just kind of a lot of fun riding, so I had a good race."
The No. 77 Touring Sport Ducshop entry leads the Moto-GT2 points championship 139-115 over the No. 9 Pair-A-Nines Kawasaki entry of Jay Springsteen and Scotty Ryan, which finished third in Saturday's race.
"I was able to pick my pace up today a couple of seconds but it still wasn't good enough to hang with the kids," said Shockley. "Bottom line was that I didn't get it done myself and handed the bike over to Ryan."
Next up for SunTrust Moto-GT is the sixth round of the nine-race championship at Heartland Park Topeka, Kansas, July 31 at the Tornado Nationals presented by BriggsAuto.com.
Parker Takes SuperSport Pole
West coast interloper Ricky Parker's No. 96 Graves Motorsports Yamaha YZF-R6 topped the field for tomorrow's AMA Pro SuperSport presented by Shoei race at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with a quick lap of 1:31.767 (94.151 mph). Parker is gunning for his third win of the year and his first in SuperSport East.
"I think I did my best lap two laps before the end," said Parker. "The track was kind of slick. I went out on tires that I used yesterday on that last session of SuperSport and they worked awesome. I think I might just race with them this weekend."
Second quickest on the day was Josh Day on the No. 4 Team E.S.P. Yamaha YZF-R6 with a lap at 1:32.091 (93.820 mph). Day is looking for a win to go with his two other top three finishes this season. Day is currently third in the SuperSport East standings.
"I got a pretty good lap there toward the end," said Day. "I think I'm ready, up for the fight with Ricky and all these guys and tomorrows going to be a good race."
Rounding out the top four for Sunday's final are Tyler Odom on the No. 46 Erion Honda CBR600RR with a lap of 1:32.156 (93.754 mph) and J.D. Beach on the No. 73 Team Rockwell Yamaha YZF-R6 with a 1:32.320 (93.588 mph). Odom has a win at Daytona this season to his credit.
Sunday's SuperSport race splits the Honda Super Cycle Weekend finales for Daytona SportBike and American Superbike with a 17-lap (40-mile) race beginning at 3:00 p.m. local time.
TrueSports, Inc. is a privately held motorsports entertainment enterprise. Founded in 1981 and headquartered in Dublin, Ohio, the company owns and operates Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and The Mid-Ohio School and promotes a wide variety of motor racing, driver and rider instruction, and corporate and family entertainment events throughout the year. Tickets, schedules and more information are available by calling 1-800-MID-OHIO or visiting www.midohio.com.