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Lexington, OH July 10, 2011 – AMA Pro Racing has, arguably, never been more exciting or more competitive than it is this season, and the Yamaha Road Racing Teams are one of the biggest reasons why. Whether it’s race wins, podium finishes, or pole positions, the Yamaha brand is prominently positioned at the front of races, and right in the thick of things in the championship standings.
Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha rider Josh Herrin earned his first pole position of the season in Daytona SportBike. The combination of the bonus point for winning the pole and his hard-fought second-place finish in Saturday’s race put Josh tied for first in the championship points standings heading into Sunday’s race.
Josh was poised perfectly in second position for most of Sunday’s race, sizing up the race leader and planning his move to the front. It was the kind of racecraft and talent-beyond-his-years that has become a Josh Herrin trademark.
But, while coming out of Mid-Ohio’s famed “Carousel” on the final lap and with the checkered flag in sight, Josh’s Yamaha YZF-R6® momentarily lost a bit of traction, and in the hotly contested DSB class, that’s all it takes. He crossed the finish line in fifth.
Despite the outcome, Josh is in second place in the season points standings and just 15 points out of the lead. Note to all you race fans: stay tuned for this class right till the final race of the season.
Josh Herrin’s Yamaha teammate, Tommy Aquino, who rides for the Yamaha Extended Service/Pat Clark Motorsports/Graves/Yamaha team had two more of his patented in-the-lead-pack races, but with a decided difference on Sunday. When positions suddenly changed at the end of the final lap, Tommy capitalized and brought his R6 across the finish line in 2nd place for his first podium finish of his young career. And, with his 5th-place finish in Saturday’s race, Tommy moved up to 4th in the season points standings.
According to Ron Heben, manager of the Yamaha Extended Service/Pat Clark Motorsports/Graves/Yamaha team, “Tommy has been working so hard all year long, and he’s been dicing with the leader in most of the races this season. We’re so happy to see him earn the podium position that he so richly deserves.” Tommy chimed in, “Now, I’ve got to get up to the top step of the podium.” That will undoubtedly happen soon for the Saugus, California, rider.
In the equally hotly contested American SuperBike class, Monster Energy/Graves/Yamaha defending SuperBike champion Josh Hayes finished second in Saturday’s race and earned a valuable point for leading the most laps. Then, on Sunday, aboard his crossplane-crankshaft #1 Yamaha YZF-R1®, the proverbial apple cart was slightly upset, with Josh’s closest rival and the current season points leader finishing second, while Josh finished an uncharacteristic fourth. With everything said and done on Sunday, Josh currently sits just 11 points out of the championship lead with lots of racing left in the season.
“I race for wins,” Josh said, which is clearly his mantra, but he and the team are still pleased to be in the “catbird seat” and ready to move back into first in the standings with the next race weekend coming up in less than two weeks at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Well, maybe “pleased” is a little bit too strong a word for this highly competitive team who is now more motivated than ever to get to California for the next race weekend.
For the Yamaha Extended Service/Pat Clark Motorsports/Graves/Yamaha team, American SuperBike rider Chris Clark made a textbook pass on his former Yamaha teammate, former AMA Superbike champion and World Superbike race winner Ben Bostrom. Chris made the pass just before the finish line in Saturday’s race and moved himself into 13th position at the checkers. And then, he improved upon that result with a 12th in Sunday’s SuperBike race aboard his #2 R1.
In SuperSport, where America’s up-and-coming riders ply their trade, Yamaha R6 rider Hayden Gillim notched his first race win of the season on Sunday, which was preceded by a 3rd in Saturday’s race. LTD Racing/Y.E.S./Yamaha rider Tomas Puerta, who is also R6-mounted, finished 3rd on Sunday, which followed his 7th on Saturday. Tomy is currently 2nd in the SuperSport East standings.
So, all in all, not a bad weekend for the Yamaha Road Racing teams at Mid-Ohio. A pole position was captured by one rider, a first-time podium was attained by another rider, and valuable season points were tallied by all the Yamaha Road Racing Teams. Now, on to California!