Perfect Conditions Welcome AMA Pro Road Racers to Day 1 at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca

MONTEREY, CA (July 22, 2011) - Rolling out under bright blue skies, the road racers of AMA Pro spent Friday warming up for the weekend's Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix action at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, where they'll join international MotoGP athletes on the world stage. AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike and Daytona SportBike riders turned practice laps at the beautiful 11-turn, 2.238-mile racetrack today, while the Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport class knocked out practice and the first of two qualifying sessions.

Monster Energy Graves Yamaha's reigning champion, Josh Hayes, likewise reigned supreme in today's National Guard SuperBike practice, topping the timesheets with a 1:25.362. "It was a standard first practice for us," said Hayes. "We ran through our usual checklist of tires and parts to see if we could go fast. The session was busy on the track -- you could tell there were a number of riders who hadn't been to this racetrack before."

SuperBike points-leader Blake Young (Rockstar Makita Suzuki) was second, less than three tenths behind the leader, putting he and Hayes alone in riders within the 1:25 frame. "The session went pretty good," said Young. "It started kind of slow because we made some big changes, but we got back out and started to go to work."

Blake's Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammate, Tommy Hayden, clocked in third-quickest, with Martin Cardenas (M4 Suzuki) and Roger Hayden (National Guard Jordan Suzuki) rounding out the top five.

In Daytona SportBike, three-time 2011 race winner Jason DiSalvo (Team Latus Motors Ducati) grabbed the fast time of 1:29.352 in closing stages of the class' single on-track session. Danny Eslick (GEICO Powersports/RMR Suzuki) -- the current championship points leader -- slotted in second after topping the time charts for the majority of the session, likewise dipping into the 1:29 range with a 1:29.648. Monster Energy Graves Yamaha's Josh Herrin was just tenths behind for third-quickest, followed by Celtic Racing/Fast by Ferracci's P.J. Jacobson and Mid-Ohio Race 1 winner, Dane Westby (M4 Suzuki).

"I was happy to be able to make constant progress with the Latus Ducati," said DiSalvo. "The bike feels good and it suits this track, and after today, we have a solid direction to pursue for tomorrow."

As the young-gun Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport riders wrapped up the day's action for the large Friday crowd, Benny Solis (Roadracingworld.com Honda) took the top Q1 spot with a 1:30.802. David Gaviria was second on the charts -- heading his LTD Racing Y.E.S. Yamaha teammate, Tomas Puerta, and Discovery Bay resident Elena Myers (SuzukiScoopFans Racing) -- while Miller Motorsports Park race-winner Corey Alexander registered the fifth-quickest time aboard his Vesrah Suzuki.

"I didn't really get a clear lap," said Solis before heading home for the day. "I did get one good one, but there was a lot of traffic. I thought I could have been faster, and I know we have more for tomorrow."

All AMA Pro classes will conclude final qualifying tomorrow, with Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport riders kicking off the weekend's race action with a 3:40 p.m. (PST) contest. The highly anticipated SuperBike and Daytona SportBike races go green on Sunday.

For Red Bull USGP tickets and information, visit
www.mazdaraceway.com or call (800) 327-7322. To be a part of AMA Pro Road Racing, please visit www.amarproracing.com and join us on facebook.com/AMAProRoadRacing and twitter.com/AMAProSBK.