News 15 Jul 2010

AMA SBK: Suzuki's Tommy Hayden leads into Mid-Ohio

Suzuki's Tommy Hayden leads the AMA Superbike Championship heading into Mid-Ohio.

Suzuki's Tommy Hayden leads the AMA Superbike Championship heading into Mid-Ohio.

The AMA Pro Road Racing Championship will return to Mid-Ohio for round this weekend, where Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden will lead the Superbike class into the weekend.

This year’s action at Mid-Ohio should be a continuation of the great racing seen from the drop of the green flag back in March at Daytona International Speedway when Zemke and his National Guard Jordan Suzuki took a pair of wins under the watchful eyes of team owner Michael Jordan.

Then the momentum shifted to Ohio’s own Larry Pegram as he took a popular win at the second race in California with his Foremost Insurance Ducati.

Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider Hayden then took his inaugural win in the Superbike class which was followed by his teammate Blake Young taking his first series wins at the next race at Road Atlanta. Josh Hayes and his Team Graves Yamaha team then took center stage with Hayes delivering a pair of totally dominant performances at Infineon Raceway and adding another win at the last race at Road America.

Hayden also took a win at Road America and will have a new teammate at Mid-Ohio and beyond as Young has suffered an injury incurred during a testing session. Young’s replacement, reigning Australian SuperBike Champion Josh Waters was also unfortunately injured during testing and his status was unclear as of today.

Eric Bostrom will also be returning to action at Mid-Ohio aboard the new Cycle World Attack Performance Yoshimura Suzuki in the first of four races for the team. Eric’s brother Ben and his Pat Clark Racing Yamaha teammate Chris Clark have been regular frontrunners, Ben taking a couple of second place finishes at Infineon. He last won at Mid-Ohio in 2008.

Another former winner at Mid-Ohio, Ulrich will be aboard his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki along with his teammate, Jake Holden. Series regular Johnny Rock Page will also be competing at Mid-Ohio after missing the last race.

The overall points battle in the National Guard Superbike Championship has Hayden (229) leading, just one point ahead of Hayes (228) with Zemke (215) in third place. The absent Young (197) is fourth ahead of Pegram (170) with Ben Bostrom (149) and Ulrich (125) in sixth and seventh respectively.

Eighth in points is Taylor Knapp (107), who has been doing a great job with his small but effective team. Bostrom’s teammate Chris Clark (80) is in ninth and rounding out the top ten is Canadian Brett McCormick (69) on the second Jordan Motorsports Suzuki doing a fine job filling in for Aaron Yates, who continues to recover at his Georgia home in anticipation of a return later this season.

The season so far in AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL has seen three riders take wins in the nine races run.

Columbian M4 Monster Energy Suzuki rider Martin Cardenas has won five times this year and taken one pole position, underlining his overall talent and racecraft once again. And with a season like that, you would expect to see Cardenas atop the points stands going into the second half of the 2010 season, but that isn’t the case.

The rider atop the standings in 2010 stamped his mark on the season right out of the box. Team Graves Yamaha rider Josh Herrin took the win at the famous Daytona International Speedway in the historic Daytona 200.

He quickly followed that up with wins at Auto Club Speedway, Road Atlanta, Infineon Raceway and also the most recent race at Road America in Wisconsin. Herrin had one pole position (Road America) and four other front row starts exemplifying his speed and desire in his quest to win the overall AMA Pro Daytona SportBike by AMSOIL championship.

Last year’s Daytona SportBike champion Danny Eslick has been in the mix for race wins at just about every race, and along with his one win at Infineon Raceway and two pole positions (Auto Club and Daytona). Eslick and his GEICO PowerSports RMR Suzuki have led at Daytona, both races at Auto Club Speedway (most laps led in race two) and the most laps at Road Atlanta.

He has started on the first or second row at every race this year. His exciting style and never-say-never attitude has made him a fan favorite who seems like he is having fun every lap of every race. Eslick won both races at Mid-Ohio last year and he can’t wait to get back the challenging 2.4-mile natural terrain road course.

The usual deal in the Daytona SportBike races is an eight to ten bike train for the lead. A number of riders have featured this year in the ultra competitive class, but one in particular has been oh-so-close to capturing his sixth overall AMA Pro Road Racing win, and it would be a popular win indeed as Steve Rapp has been right in the mix from the very first race at Daytona.

Rapp started on the front row at Daytona and took a strong third place after leading. He again took a front row start to seventh and third place finishes at the Auto Club Speedway in March. He came right back at the next race at Road Atlanta, starting on the front row and leading on his way to two sixth place finishes.

As the series moved back out west to Infineon Raceway in Northern California, Rapp again started on the front row and led in the late stages of race two only to suffer a heartbreaking fall while leading with two laps to go. Amazingly, he fought back to finish 16th.

Showing his mettle, he again started on the front row at the most recent race at Road America and led both races on his way to second and third places finishes. Rapp currently sits in fifth place in the points, just seven back from Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha rider Dane Westby.

Westby is among a number of riders who have played a part in the incredible racing seen this year. Team Graves Yamaha rider Tommy Aquino has taken a couple of pole positions, Cory West riding for the Vesrah Suzuki team, Clinton Seller on the second Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha and Bobby Fong with his DNA Energy Drink Ducati have all been in the mix.

Other than Rapp and Eslick, this group of riders are all looking for their first AMA Pro win at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course so expect nothing less than maximum effort from this exciting group of riders and motorcycles.