The Emperor Strikes Back As Four-Time AMA Superbike Champ Josh Hayes Wins Superbike Race 1 In Virginia2016-05-16 13:02
Going six Superbike races without a victory is a very rare thing for four-time AMA Superbike Champ Josh Hayes, but the Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha rider put an end to his winless streak in a big way in Sunday’s MotoAmerica Superbike Race 1 at VIRginia International Raceway. Josh’s teammate Cameron Beaubier, who earned the pole yesterday at VIR, led early in the race but had to negotiate his #1 Yamaha YZF-R1 through a couple of incidents to finish a solid fourth in the 25-lap feature event.
And, while it was Josh’s first victory of the 2016 MotoAmerica season, the win was the 59th of his storied Yamaha Superbike career. What made the win even more notable was that he started from 10th position on the grid. But a good start, some talented racing maneuvers, and lots of Yamaha R1 Superbike speed moved him up to 7th in short fashion.
Meanwhile, Cameron, who is the defending MotoAmerica Superbike Champion, was up front and leading at the beginning of the race. He was passed by Josh Herrin, and then, a momentary off-track excursion moved Cameron back in the pack even more. And, despite being balked by a slower rider, which moved him back even more, he fought back aboard his #1 Yamaha R1 Superbike to finish fourth and keep himself in the top three in the Championship points standings.
When Josh was asked how he felt about getting his first win of the 2016 season, the “Mississippi Madman” said, “Definitely relieved. It’s been a pretty tough weekend. Rog (Hayden) and Cam, and Toni (Elias), have been strong here in practice and qualifying. It’s such a busy racetrack, a physical racetrack, and in the past, it’s worked in my favor. This track creates a lot of chaos, and today, the chaos worked in my favor. I was able to get up with the lead group, and then, get in the lead.
“Last year, I won more than half of the races in the season,” Josh replied when asked to comment on going six races without a victory. “And, after not winning any of the first six races this year, well, let me just say this, it feels really good to get this win, and I hope there are more to come.”
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