News 17 May 2010

AMA SBK: Hayes scores Infineon sweep, Eslick wins DSB

Team Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes backed up his convincing Saturday win at Infineon Raceway with another display of superiority on Sunday, as he took his second AMA Pro National Guard American SuperBike win in as many days and led all but five laps of Superbike competition over the weekend.

Hayes, who started on pole position, had to come from behind after some exceptional front-row starts from his competitors. Over the course of the first few laps, however, Hayes slowly picked off the riders in front and rode away to a 3.677-second victory over former teammate Ben Bostrom.

Ben Bostrom on his Pat Clark Motorsports Yamaha and an ever strong Larry Pegram on his Foremost Insurance Ducati both battled off Hayes to repeat their second and third place finishes from yesterday. Pegram led the first five laps of the race before being passed by a charging Hayes, who climbed back from fifth position to take the top spot on lap six, steadily maintaining his lead on the way to his ninth Superbike win.

“I felt like I had an advantage this weekend,” Hayes said. “My bike worked really well and the boys did a fantastic job. I think we learned a few things and it will bode well for the rest of the season. If we keep our nose clean, we can compete for wins any given weekend.”

All three riders commented that it was a different kind of race today, but at the end of the day, the top three matched the conditions perfectly and each rider was delighted with their results for different reasons.

Hayes was relieved that he was able to back up his result from yesterday. He felt that he had such an advantage with Saturday’s clearly dominant performance of his Team Graves Yamaha that he was actually worried that he might not deliver on the advantage he felt that he had over the conditions and competition.

Bostrom was also pleased with his weekend. His new team, Pat Clark Motorsports, has been getting better and better and this is an indication that the team and rider are back up front where they belong and now feel that they can be contenders for the rest of the 2010 AMA Pro Road Racing season.

Pegram, who rides, manages and works on his family-owned Foremost Insurance Ducati team, felt that his performances at a track where he traditionally doesn’t do well was a bonus. He did have more difficulty with slower traffic today, but overall he is leaving Infineon Raceway with a pair of strong results as he heads into the scene of his popular victory last year at Road America.

Behind the top three, Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammates Tommy Hayden and Blake Young enjoyed battling with each other and more as they also duplicated their fourth and fifth place finishes from yesterday. The duo had a close encounter in the turn nine complex on the final lap, which sent Hayden off course momentarily, but both riders retook their respective positions before crossing the stripe.

Young ran as high as second position early in the race before beginning his seemingly race-long battle with points leader Jake Zemke on his National Guard Jordan Suzuki, who did all he could to take sixth, giving no quarter as he fought all the way to the flag.

Jake Holden had another strong run on his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki with a seventh place run, ahead of his teammate Chris Ulrich on his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki. Suzuki rider Taylor Knapp took another solid finish in ninth and Geoff May returned to fulltime National Guard SuperBike competition with a tenth place finish on his Erik Buell Racing Buell motorcycle.

Danny Eslick finally attained his first AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL win of the 2010 season on Sunday afternoon in the final race of the West Coast Moto Jam at Infineon Raceway’s 2.32-mile natural road course.

In a weekend that saw riders in each class take well deserved wins, no one was happier and more relieved than Eslick. The reigning Daytona SportBike champion showed that consistency is key, once again pushing his GEICO Powersports Richie Morris Racing Suzuki to the maximum to earn a hard-fought victory over the 31-bike field and take control of the point standings with his fifth podium finish in the season’s seven races.

Over the course of the 22-lap sprint race, nine different riders occupied the top five spots. Eslick surged to the front almost immediately and had to battle intensely in a quest for his first 2010 race win. The lead freight train was rarely separated by more than a second and although Eslick led 19 laps, it was never truly clear who was poised to take the top spot.

Josh Herrin on his Team Graves Yamaha, Steve Rapp with his Team Latus Motors Racing Ducati, Martin Cardenas on his Saturday race one winning M4 Monster Energy Suzuki and pole sitter Tommy Aquino on his Team Graves Yamaha all took the fight to Eslick with intentions to take the win.

Cardenas suffered an early mishap in the turn nine left/right complex and wasn’t able to continue after coming together with another rider, but it was Rapp, who took the lead from Eslick on lap 17, that was poised to be the rider to once again deny Eslick of a 2010 win. In a cruel twist, Rapp unfortunately had the bike slide out from under him while leading lap 21. He was able to rejoin the fray to finish a brave 16th.

A number of other riders also had falls today, one of which necessitated a red flag. Russ Wikle went down in turn five and Michael Beck unfortunately made inevitable contact with him.

Wikle was airlifted to Santa Rosa Medical Center for further examination. He was awake and alert when he left the track and was undergoing further examination at the hospital. He had spoken to his parents but the full extent of his injuries was still being evaluated.

When the race wound down, Daytona 200 winner Herrin took second and Dane Westby riding his Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha closed out the podium in third place, his third podium this season. Polesitter Tommy Aquino, who led three laps in Saturday’s race and never fell below seventh position this weekend, battled his way to a fourth place finish.

Fifth was Cory West on his Vesrah Suzuki, followed by Bobby Fong in sixth, who ran as high as second position in the early stages of the race aboard his DNA Energy Drink CNR Motorsports Ducati. Seventh was the second Vesrah Suzuki of Chris Fillmore, eighth was P.J. Jacobson riding for Celtic Racing Suzuki. Eli Edwards took ninth with his Edwards Racing Yamaha and rounding out the top ten was Tyler Odom riding a Honda for Erion Racing.

Eslick completed the day with a spectacular wheelie for the television cameras and also a loud, smokey burnout as he pulled into the Infineon Raceway victory lane. Sunday’s first place finish marked Eslick’s eighth career AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL win, but if his consistent finishes so far this year are any indication, expect to see him in victory lane at least once a weekend for the rest of the season.

Next up for the series will be the classic four mile road course through the Kettle Moraine country of Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin’s Road America, 4-6 June.

Click here for detailed results