MILLVILLE, NJ, SEPT 8 – Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes rewrote the record books on a busy Saturday at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
The two-time defending AMA Superbike champion started his Saturday with his 11th pole in a row, tying Mat Mladin’s mark. That record includes nine in a row in a single season, breaking the previous record held by Mladin.
In the race he stormed out to a lead that grew so quickly it was clear he’d have his ninth win in a row, itself a new AMA Superbike record. The win was his 12th of the season, tying Mladin’s mark from 2007 and putting him in a good place to break it with five races remaining and not much in the way of competition. Second placed Ben Bostrom (Jordan Suzuki) was over 22 seconds behind, with Yoshimura Suzuki’s Blake Young shadowing Bostrom in third.
Hayes is now the outright holder of third place on the all-time AMA Superbike wins list with 29. Prior to today, he’d been tied with Ben Spies at 28. Miguel Duhamel is next at 32, then Mladin, whose record of 82 wins is untouchable. Not what Hayes won’t try.
Saturday, his win at New Jersey was so clinical and devastating that it left the competition both shaking their heads and searching for superlatives. The same was true of Hayes, who now comes to the post-race media conferences having to explain why he’s so good.
“What do you want me to say?” Hayes said with a smile after crushing the AMA Superbike field on Saturday at New Jersey. “Things are going pretty good. The bike is an incredible machine. The R1 has been treating me good for a long time. This has been a good racetrack for me with that bike.” Indeed. Hayes has won six of the seven NJMP races. “And I’m fortunate that I get to ride it and I’m able to put down a lot of fast laps. And in practice and qualifying leading up to this, I was able to do 21s on race distance tires and so just taking that opportunity to practice to really work on having a good bike at the end of the race and I think we have that.
“In the race I didn’t want to ride careful. I wanted to keep working on things, so we just continue to progress as we go into tomorrow’s race, as we go to the next racetrack. It’s just a lot of valuable time. And time that I can really use in a racing situation to get the most out of testing the equipment and work on it.”
Hayes admitted making a few mistakes in the race, but none of consequence. Most were the result of passing lapped riders.
“Nothing major,” he said. “The bike, tires, everything worked according to plan. Our routine of how we go about everything throughout the weekend from practice, qualifying, what tire we put on when, you know, we have a routine we go through every weekend. I have a routine of how I treat the sighting the lap and the warm-up lap and I do the same thing every time and it prepares me well for the race and it’s just paying off having a good routine that I’ve learned over a lot of years.”
Hayes had a lead of 1.690 seconds after the first lap at New Jersey, 2.873 seconds after lap 2, and 5.196 seconds after the third lap, the lap on which second place rider Steve Rapp (MotorcycleSuperstore.com/Attack Performance) crashed.
Hayes powered on to win the AMA Superbike race by 22.211 seconds; in fact, for the last four laps, the lead was over 22 seconds.
The race for second was between Bostrom and Young. Young made a mistake late in the race that allowed Bostrom past. And when he tried to use his superior power on the run to the flag, Young couldn’t get the power down and had to settle for third.
“Just a disappointing race for me,” he said. “I got out to second and I fought to a good start and that’s pretty much where the race ended there for me. Josh (Hayes) put his head down right away, which I knew he was going to do, and I thought I could put in the first five hard laps and just couldn’t really settle in. Just haven’t been able to settle in all weekend long.”
The end result is that Young lost more ground in what should be a title fight, but is actually becoming an extended coronation. Hayes has 447 to 362 for Young with five AMA Superbike races remaining.
Riders Discount/K&L Supply’s Taylor Knapp (Suzuki) had been second in the early going, but as the New Jersey race went on the lack of electronics on his 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000 meant he couldn’t preserve his rear tire. That gave the more sophisticated machines an edge. Still, fourth on Saturday was Knapp’s best finish of the year.
Fifth went to Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Josh Herrin. Herrin ran off the track on the first lap and spent the rest of the race working his way forward.
AMA Superbike New Jersey Saturday race results:
1. Josh Hayes (Yamaha)
2. Ben Bostrom (Suzuki)
3, Blake Young (Suzuki)
4. Taylor Knapp (Suzuki)
5. Josh Herrin (Yamaha)
6. Geoff May (EBR)
7. Larry Pegram (BMW)
8. Chris Fillmore (KTM)
9. Roger Hayden (Suzuki)
10. David Anthony (Suzuki)