Monterey, CA July 24, 2011 -- All the world was the stage for the Yamaha U.S. Road Racing Teams as they joined their MotoGP counterparts at the storied Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in sun-drenched Monterey, California. The weekend was filled with drama and exciting racing during this, the second-to-the-last round of the AMA Pro Racing season.
Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha rider and defending American SuperBike Champion Josh Hayes picked up six more valuable and hard-earned points toward his successful repeat of the season title. Josh earned a point for capturing the pole position on his crossplane crankshaft YZF-R1(r), as well as an additional point for leading the most laps in what was clearly the most action-packed and nail-biting race of the entire weekend.
Josh looked to have victory in hand for most of the race, but nothing is a sure bet in American SuperBike with such a competitive field of riders, teams, and motorcycles. The lead changed hands more than a couple of times on the final lap, and Josh nearly pulled out the win. With his closest championship challenger finishing 3rd, Josh is now just a scant five points out of the lead with New Jersey Motorsports Park looming as the final round and the final two races of season.
Commenting on the Laguna Seca battle and the upcoming final showdown, Josh said, "I wanted to win (the race) bad, and I tried really hard. I'm going to work my butt off in New Jersey, and try to win it all again. One thing's for sure, it's going to be a lot of fun."
Also in American Superbike, Yamaha Extended Service/Pat Clark Motorsports/Graves/Yamaha rider Chris Clark and his team worked through some teething problems with his R1 throughout the weekend, and the tireless efforts paid off. Chris finished a very promising 9th in the race, and he and the team are looking forward to closing out the season with strong finishes at NJMP.
The Daytona SportBike race was also action-packed and exciting, but not in the way that Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha rider Josh Herrin or his team had hoped for. With Josh on the gas and clearly in contention for the win, his YZF-R6(r) suffered an ultra-rare technical issue that forced him to slow, ultimately ending his day. Racing can sometimes be cruel and heartless, but the always-optimistic Josh reacted to the DNF with a positive attitude. Despite his chances to win the DSB season championship taking a serious hit, Josh said, "We're going to New Jersey with both eyes open and looking to win the pole and both races. Then we'll see where we end up in the championship. Anything can happen. I only wish the race was next weekend...or tomorrow. Bring it on!"
Following up his career-high 2nd-place finish at Mid-Ohio, Tommy Aquino, who rides an R6 in Daytona SportBike competition for the Yamaha Extended Service/Pat Clark Motorsports/Graves/Yamaha team, had another excellent result at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. His 5th-place finish keeps Tommy firmly in 4th place in the season points standings heading into New Jersey.
In AMA Pro SuperSport, LTD Racing/Y.E.S./Yamaha rider David Gaviria won the season championship in the West Division with a 4th-place finish in Saturday's race, while his teammate Tomas Puerta, who is also R6-mounted. Tomas is also currently 2nd in the SuperSport East standings, and that championship will be decided on the weekend of September 2-4, at New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Look for the Yamaha Road Racing Teams as they travel from the West Coast to the East Coast and the final round of this exciting AMA Pro Racing season. Don't miss it.