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Saturday, July 9, 2011

Hayes leads Mid-Ohio qualifying

From AMA Pro Racing

LEXINGTON, OH – With just a few points separating the leaders in the AMA Pro Racing premier classes, the Honda Supercycle Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, OH is sure to be a pivotal round. Friday’s provisional qualifying was fast and furious, and gave fans their first glimpse of what’s to come as the weekend unfolds.

In AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike, current points leader and reigning champion Josh Hayes continued to hold sway in qualifying. The Monster Energy Graves Yamaha rider has swept all the pole positions this season and claimed the provisional pole at Mid-Ohio thanks to a fastest lap time of 1:25.639. Hayes set the pace early on the undulating, 15-turn, 2.4-mile course, and then raised the bar toward the end of the 50-minute session.

“I think everybody always wants to be fastest in qualifying,” said Hayes. “Is that our only goal? No. We did a time early in the session and I said let’s continue on this tire and work on the bike and see what happens. I was able to do a string of laps in the 25s and some low 26s fairly comfortably, and some of the changes we made allowed us to go pretty good on an older tire. That will help us go faster when we put on a new Dunlop tire tomorrow. It should be cooler tomorrow morning, so we’ll see.”

Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young, who’s just two points shy of Hayes in the overall points standings, was also right behind him in qualifying after posting a fast lap of 1:25.713. Young and Hayes were the only riders in the 1:25-second range. Rounding out the front row of the AMA Pro SuperBike grid are the Hayden brothers: National Guard Michal Jordan Motorsports Suzuki’s Roger in third (1:26.093) and Young’s Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammate Tommy (1:26.146) in fourth.

Calgary's Chris Peris was ninth fastest on the ESP / Team Iron Horse BMW S1000RR with a time of 1:27.354.

AMA Pro Daytona SportBike saw Geico Powersports Suzuki’s Danny Eslick take provisional pole on a track where he’s claimed multiple victories. Eslick currently holds a four-point lead in the series and demonstrated his considerable prowess by posting a fast lap of 1:29.723. Eslick was the only Daytona SportBike rider turning 29s.

“The track was good when we went out for qualifying,” said Eslick. “We went out on some older tires in the beginning of the session and worked on getting a good, solid set-up. Towards the end, we threw some new tires at the GEICO Suzuki and put a good lap in to take the pole.”

Behind Eslick was Jake Holden (1:30.037) of the Jake Holden Racing/RidersDiscount.com team and Jason DiSalvo (1:30.199) of Team Latus Motors Racing. The last spot on the provisional front row went to Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Josh Herrin (1:30.398), a four-time winner in the class this year.

Emerson Connor of Burlington, Ont. posted the 19th fastest time in SportBike qualifying on his Ducshop Ducati 848 and Belfountain, Ont.'s Kenny Riedmann was 25th aboard his Triumph 675.

In AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport, Dustin Dominguez captured his first AMA Pro provisional pole position on his unique Team Latus Motors Triumph with a fast lap of 1:31.673. Behind Dominguez was recent Barber winner and East Division SuperSport points leader James Rispoli (ANT-Racing.com/STAR School Suzuki) with a time of 1:31.837, and then Hayden Gillim with a best time of 1:32.118. Finally, Tomas Puerta of LTD Racing Y.E.S. Yamaha earned fourth on the grid, thanks to a time of 1:32.978.

Ben Young of Thornbury, Ont. was 18th fastest on the Fogi Racing Yamaha YZF-R6.

Final qualifying for all three classes is scheduled for Saturday morning, with the Vance & Hines XR1200 qualifying slated for the end of the day. Additionally, Saturday’s first race will be the Motorcycle-Superstore.com Supersport race at 1:00 p.m. Eastern time.

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