If tomorrow's two Superbike races are anything close to today's Superspole session then fans at New Jersey Motorsports Park are in for an action-packed Sunday as the top seven qualified within a second of polesitter Cameron Beaubier for the MotoAmerica Superbike Championship of New Jersey.
Beaubier set the pace in Superpole 2, the defending MotoAmerica Superbike Champion earning his second pole position of the season and the seventh of his career with a lap of 1:21.390 on the factory Yamaha R1. But his rivals are close with teammate Josh Hayes just .174 of a second behind in second and Yoshimura Suzuki's championship points leader Roger Hayden third - and just .251 of a second off Beaubier.
Beaubier has been fast all weekend at NJMP and he managed to survive a crash-filled final practice session on Saturday morning - a session that claimed several riders, including his teammate Hayes. And not once but twice.
"I just put my head down in the beginning with a brand new soft tire, felt pretty good, clicked off some mid- to high-21s and was just trying to get a good rhythm going," Beaubier said of Superpole 2. "I made a couple of small mistakes here and there, but overall I felt really good. I felt like I had a good race pace in the dry, and I felt decent in the wet. Whatever happens tomorrow, I think I'm ready."
Hayes walked away unscathed from two crashes in the final practice session and he wasn't alone as several went down in the cold conditions.
"I felt okay on the motorcycle, no real problems other than being a little gun shy on that side (the left side of the tire)," Hayes said. "I just don't want to fall down again. I didn't make it very easy on my crew tearing up both motorcycles and giving them a lot of work to do to provide a good bike for qualifying."
Championship leader Roger Hayden, on the Yoshimura Suzuki, will fill the front row for Sunday's two races. Hayden's best lap was a 1:21.641 - just a tick slower than the two Yamaha teammates.
"This afternoon definitely felt a little better," Hayden said of the track conditions. "It's hard to keep heat in the left side of the tire, just cause there's only a couple of left-hand corners and they are pretty slow. So this afternoon, with the track temperature up, that seemed to be a little better."
Hayden said he didn't feel fast in Superpole 2, though the results show otherwise.
"I didn't feel like I was riding that good," Hayden said. "I was rushing the corners and stuff, so I'm really happy with the front row. It's important for this place because it's really tough to pass. With the weather coming in maybe tomorrow, the closer you are to the front the less chances are of things happening. Glad to be on the front row and these guys did a great job, did a good lap. Looking forward to having a good one tomorrow."
Row two for tomorrow's Superbike races will be led by the surprising Hayden Gillim, the Cycle World Suzuki rider lapping in the 1:21s with a 1:21.816 on his Bazzaz Superstock 1000-spec GSX-R1000. He led Broaster Chicken Roadrace Factory's Jake Gagne and Yoshimura Suzuki's Toni Elias, the Spaniard having to come through from Superpole 1 as he was struggling in his first visit to New Jersey Motorsports Park.
Row three will consist of Latus Motors Racing's Bobby Fong on his Kawasaki ZX-10R, TOBC Racing's Danny Eslick and M4 Suzuki's Larry Pegram, the racing veteran making his MotoAmerica debut as a replacement rider for the recently retired Chris Ulrich.