AMA Pro Racing press release:
Jamie Hacking and Mat Mladin scored AMA Pro Road Racing Superpoles Friday at Auto Club Speedway in the opening day of competition for the Suzuki AMA Pro Superbike Challenge weekend on the Fontana speedway road course.
Hacking, who finished fourth on his No. 88 Monster Energy/Attack Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R in the season-opening Daytona 200 by Honda AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL race two weeks ago, stayed on the pace at Fontana in Superpole qualifying. He lapped the 2.36-mile course with a session-best lap time of 1:28.201 (93.876 mph).
“I was sliding so bad coming off the last corner I went across the curbing out there sideways,” Hacking said. “I had such a big tank slapper up the front straightaway, but I managed to gather it back together and came out and put a good lap in. My ZX-6 is definitely coming around a lot better from Daytona. We are working on it and making things better so that is all that I can ask for from Kawasaki, to provide me with a competitive bike. We are getting there and we are making things better.”
Buell’s Danny Eslick (No. 9 Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Racing/RMR Buell 1125R) qualified second for the second consecutive race with a lap time of 1:28.371 (93.695 mph). Jake Zemke (No. 1x Erion Racing Honda CBR600RR) was third fastest at 1:28.649 (93.402 mph), Tommy Aquino (No. 6 Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R6) was fourth with a lap of 1:28.769 (93.276 mph) and Jason DiSalvo (No. 40 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600) rounded out the top five at 1:28.843 (93.198 mph). The top-five included five different makes of motorcycles from Kawasaki, Buell, Honda, Yamaha and Suzuki.
“I think we have got some more speed,” Eslick said. “We stayed on the same tires from this morning in the regular qualifying and just tried to get a full race distance and get the bike set up. We threw a new tire at it for Superpole and ended up second again. It’s a pretty good deal for the Bruce Rossmeyer/RMR Buell.”
Zemke’s third-place effort was the best Daytona SportBike qualifying run for Honda this season.
“We definitely left a few tenths out there on the track,” Zemke said. “To start basically second row behind these two (Hacking and Eslick) will be fine and we are looking forward to the race. It is back to normal (sprint) racing away from Daytona and it should be good.”
Aquino believes his Yamaha is as competitive as the other front running bikes.
“The Yamaha, definitely, it’s right up there if not at the top,” the 16-year-old Aquino said. “It is working great. It should be a good race. We are all so close so it should be good.”
American Superbike Superpole
Despite a resurgent effort from Jordan Suzuki, Mladin still topped the field by more than 1.3 seconds on his No. 7 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX- R1000. He won his second AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited pole in as many races after also taking the top qualifying spot at the Daytona opener earlier this month.
Jordan’s Aaron Yates (No. 23 Brand Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000) was a solid second with a lap time of 1:24.759 (97.689 mph) and Mladin’s Yoshimura teammate Tommy Hayden (No. 22 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX- R1000) was third fastest at 1:24.810 (97.630 mph).
“We have definitely made some big steps forward from Daytona,” Yates said. “We had some issues there, some stuff we started with this season and were just trying out. We had a suspension that didn’t really allow us to go like we needed to go at Daytona so we were stuck back there riding around. But here I am actually getting a good feel out of the bike and able to push it and ride it like you’re supposed to and turn in some decent lap times.”
Hayden joins only teammate Mladin in making a Superpole front row in each of the year’s opening races.
“The lap went pretty smooth, really, actually too smooth,” Hayden said. “I was a little too conservative on that lap and the time wasn’t anything special, but the front row is important for here and at least I am on there.”
Jordan’s other rider Geoff May (No. 54 National Guard Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000) was the fourth and final American Superbike front-row starter with a lap time 1:24.810 (97.630 mph).
“Our guys have been working really hard back in the shop,” May said. “I know they have been working like 20-hour days, doing a lot of homework, figuring out what went wrong at Daytona. We figured out some stuff we missed. The team has come a long way with the bike and it has given me the confidence to push the thing.”
SuperSport Top Speeds
In AMA Pro SuperSport presented by Shoei action, Daytona winner Tyler Odom (No. 46 Erion Racing Honda CBR600RR) turned Friday’s top lap in the second of three practice sessions. His time of 1:31.640 (90.353 mph) was the only SuperSport lap of the day that cracked the 90 mph barrier. Bryce Prince (No. 74 Bryce Prince Kawasaki 600) paced the morning and afternoon sessions and set the day’s second fastest overall lap time of 1:32.620 (89.398 mph) in the afternoon. Garrett Willis (No. 80 Mach 1 Motorsports Yamaha YZF-R6) was third fastest overall Friday with an afternoon lap of 1:33.017 (89.016 mph).