Yamaha wins Supersport race - Josh Hayes out in Spectacular high speed crash at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca!
After a massive crash in practice, American Honda's #4 Josh Hayes took the lead in the season finale at the Honda Pro Oils Supersport race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Clearly in pain from impacting his heals, Hayes battled on the first lap but dropped into third. Yamaha's #46 Josh "Rossi" Herrin pulled into first ahead of Monster Energy Kawasaki's #2 Jamie Hacking.
Herrin held the lead until lap 6 when he impacted with Hacking in the corkscrew damaging the #46 bike's brake lever.
Lap 7 saw Josh Hayes crashing in spectacular fashion at high speed into turn 6 triggering a lengthy red flag. Hayes lay motionless in the gravel pit waiting for help to arrive. Herrin's Yamaha technicians took advantage of the red flag to repair the damage to his bike.
After an extensive delay, Hacking and his newest enemy - pole position holder Herrin - sat beside each other on the restart grid. With the race about to begin, yet another delay brought out tire warmers as the frustrated riders dismounted their bikes while corner workers cleared gravel out of turn 2.
Live television broadcast time eroding the race brought the final restart to only 7 laps remaining.
The restart of the race saw # 46 Josh Herrin take the lead followed by Monster Energy Kawasaki's #95 Roger Hayden. With only 5 laps to go more riders contacted in the corkscrew sending the #8 Yamaha of Chris Peris and #99 Geoff May into the dirt.
Yamaha's Herrin crossed the finish line in first, with Kawasaki's Jamie Hacking in second and Suzuki's Monty Cardenas in third. Rounding out the top five was Kawasaki's Ben Attard in 4th and Roger Hayden who had slipped into 5th place.
The 5th place finish was enough to seal the championship for Roger Hayden. Hayden told the crowd the he thanked Kawasaki for supporting him and believing in him when nobody else would.
Hayden said, "I was about to go back working in my Dad's car lot 'til Kawasaki called me up. They definitely started my career so this Championship is for them".
The GSX-R1000s of #66 Matt Mladin and #1 Ben Spies took the lead in the final race of the Corona AMA Superbike Championships and never looked back. A tired looking Roger Hayden crashed his Kawasaki ZX-10R entering turn 3, taking him out of the race. The powerful GSX-R1000's dominated the event as they've done for so many races in the past - Suzuki has controlled this class for so long that the outcome of this finale was next to predictable.
By lap 8 the GSX-R's had built an over 3 second lead from the 3rd place Honda of Jake Zemke and were showing no signs of slowing down. The gap increased to 6.5 seconds by lap 12.
The battle between Spies and Mladin saw a brilliant pass by Spies on lap 17 in the corkscrew with both riders trying to use lapped traffic to their advantage. By lap 19 the Suzuki's of Spies and Mladin were a full 13 seconds faster than the third place Zemke.
Lap 25 saw Spies pull away from his Suzuki teammate Mladin gaining his own 5.4 second lead.
Unchallenged, the #1 plate holder Spies rode his GSX-R1000 to a solid victory to win the Championship for the second time.
Will anybody be able to stop Suzuki from ruling this class? With new liter bikes from Honda and Kawasaki for 2008 only time will tell!
Until then Suzuki continues to own every cc of the Superbike division.
Photo: Kinney Jones