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Roger Hayden Snags Superbike Pole As Herrin and Roberts Bounce Back In Supersport

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Wheels In Motion/Meen Motorsports teammates Josh Herrin and Joe Roberts are both hoping for bounce-back years after the trials and tribulations of their rocky 2014 seasons.

Last weekend in the opening round of the 2015 MotoAmerica AMA/FIM North American Road Race Series in Texas, the pair didn't get off to the fast start they were both hoping for and the rockiness continued. Today at Road Atlanta, they more than made up for it.

Herrin came out on top of a race-long battle with Yamalube/Y.E.S./Graves Motorsports Yamaha teammates Garrett Gerloff and JD Beach to win his first race since taking victory at New Jersey Motorsports Park in September of 2013 - during his AMA Superbike Championship-winning season. Last year Herrin went overseas to the Moto2 World Championship and his experience was such that he admits to not only wanting to come home halfway through the season, but also not even caring if he rode a motorcycle again.

That all changed this off-season when he not only gelled with his new Meen Motorsports team, but was also reunited with a middleweight Yamaha R6 - the motorcycle on which he'd won all of his 15 AMA races.

"Just being able to come back, it's really important," Herrin said. "I know there was a lot of people doubting us. Daytona went good, but I know these guys weren't there and at COTA we were riding in the rain so this was our first dry race with all these guys.

"I thought it was really important for me to get the win just so I could have a strong year. I've been struggling a lot in practice this weekend trying to keep up with this guy [Gerloff] and I was getting real nervous right before the race, getting nauseous.

"I was just wondering if we were going to be able to keep the pace because we weren't very fast this morning in the dry. It kept me on my toes, but that's the first race I've ever been able to win from the front... I think since New Jersey in 2009 with [Jake] Zemke. It feels good to be able to do that many laps in row by myself and have a good pace. I'm excited about it for sure."

Herrin beat Gerloff by just .428 of a second with Beach 3.2 seconds behind at the end of the 20 laps. Fourth and fifth in today's Supersport final went to M4 Suzuki's David Anthony and RoadRace Factory's Tomas Puerta, respectively.

Beach, who won the season opener at Circuit of The Americas last weekend, continues to lead the championship point standings but only by a single point over Gerloff, 41-40. Herrin is third with 34 points.

Herrin's Meen Motorsports teammate Roberts won five AMA Supersport races (now Superstock 600) in 2013 before moving up to the Daytona Sportbike class (now Supersport). Like Herrin, he also had a forgettable season. Now he's back in the class in which he won, and today he rode to a sixth career victory, this one coming on a wet 2.54-mile Road Atlanta.

"The last win I had was at Miller [Motorsports Park] in 2013, so it feels great to be back on top," Roberts said after a relatively easy win in difficult conditions. "And with the racing going how it went with me taking off and getting a six-second gap. It feels really good."

Roberts beat Richie Escalante, the Mexican National Champion who is doing a full season in the MotoAmerica Series on his Escalante Racing Yamaha R6. Escalante ended up 8.5 seconds behind Roberts, but was well clear of third-placed Travis Wyman on the Kyle Wyman Racing Yamaha.

With Road Atlanta marking the opening round of the Superstock 600 Series, the points are the same as the results with Roberts leading Escalante by five points, 25-20. Wyman is third with 16.
Josh Hayes, Roger Hayden and Cameron Beaubier will start on the front row for Sunday's two MotoAmerica Superbike races. - Credit: Brian J. Nelson.
Saturday at Road Atlanta was also qualifying day for the MotoAmerica Superbike class and the man who came out of the 15-minute Superpole 2 session with pole position was Yoshimura Suzuki's Roger Hayden. Hayden led the wet session with a 1:35.308 lap to best the two Monster Energy Graves Yamahas of Josh Hayes and Cameron Beaubier, the pair set to join him on the front row.

Hayes ended up .724 of a second behind Hayden after crashing out on the run to the final chicane, turns 10A and 10B, early in the session. A red flag for a downed motorcycle on the track helped Hayes in that he was able to return to the pits to get his second bike. He then went out and put in his best lap, a 1:36.032, to beat out his teammate Beaubier for second on the front row.

Row two will consist of Superstock 1000 class riders Joshua Day, on the Yamalube/Westby Racing YZF-R1, Tyler O'Hara Racing's Tyler O'Hara, and RoadRace Factory's Jake Gagne.

"This weekend I've been working really hard on the half-wet, half-dry things where previously Josh [Hayes] has been really strong in those conditions," Hayden said after earning his third career Superbike pole position.

"I had a lot more confidence than normal and got a good first lap. On the second one I was like, 'I'm going for it.' I could have gone another lap, but I don't think I could have gone any quicker and I didn't really want to really go through that again. Going down the backstraightaway it was just like all over the place.

"I'm happy to get pole, but tomorrow is what matters and I feel ready to go either wet or dry. This track is actually a lot better than I thought in the wet. Whatever it is, we'll be ready and we'll try to make it count tomorrow."

SUPERSPORT RACE 1 RESULTS
Josh Herrin (Yamaha)
Garrett Gerloff (Yamaha)
JD Beach (Yamaha)
David Anthony (Suzuki)
Tomas Puerta (Yamaha)
Cameron Petersen (Yamaha)
Tucker Lancaster (Kawasaki)
Ben Young (Yamaha)
Kaleb De Keyrel (Yamaha)
Corey Alexander (Yamaha)

SUPERSTOCK 600 RACE 1 RESULTS
Joe Roberts (Yamaha)
Richie Escalante (Yamaha)
Travis Wyman (Yamaha)
Wyatt Farris (Yamaha)
JC Camacho (Yamaha)
Nick McFadden (Suzuki)
Hayden Schultz (Yamaha)
Andy DiBrino (Yamaha)
Gavin Elstad (Honda)
Ryan Jones (Honda)

SUPERBIKE/SUPERSTOCK 1000 QUALIFYING
Roger Hayden (Suzuki) 1:35.308
Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:36.032
Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) 1:36.733
Joshua Day (Yamaha) 1:37.408
Tyler O'Hara (Yamaha) 1:37.451
Jake Gagne (Yamaha) 1:37.491
Huntley Nash (Ducati) 1:37.523
Mark Heckles (Yamaha) 1:38.055
Taylor Knapp (Yamaha) 1:38.066
Jake Lewis (Suzuki) 1:36.698

Top Image: Josh Herrin (2) leads Garrett Gerloff (31) and JD Beach (95) en route to victory in the Supersport final at Road Atlanta on Saturday.

Credit: Brian J. Nelson.

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