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Until today, Roger Hayden didn’t have fond memories of Pittsburgh International Race Complex. It was here, during the test on May 17-18, that the Hayden family learned of Nicky Hayden’s tragic bicycle accident in Italy, an accident that took his life a few days later on May 22. Today, Roger Hayden put that behind him, taking his second Motul Superbike win of the season and the most emotional of his long career - a victory he dedicated to his late brother and his grieving family.
Hayden had to win not once, but twice as the race was red-flagged while he was leading by over two seconds on the 11th lap. But there was no stopping him on this day as he went out and won the second part of the race as well, a six-lap sprint for his second win of the season and first since race one at VIRginia International Raceway on May 12.
“I had a lot of motivation today since Cameron (Beaubier) has been putting it to us the last couple of races,” said Hayden. “I was able to get a good jump on the restart and just put my head down. I really wanted a win bad and this was one of the toughest weekends for me since my brother’s accident happened while I was testing here a few months back. I had a lot on my mind, but we’re professionals and there was no way that I was going to let the win slip away at the end today.”
Hayden’s margin of victory at the end of six laps was .263 of a second over his Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Toni Elias, the Spaniard on the cusp of winning his first MotoAmerica Superbike Championship. Elias now leads the title chase by 79 points over Hayden, 340-261, after earning his 14th podium of the season.
“My team improved the bike quite a bit for me this morning,” said Elias. “Roger (Hayden) was so strong today and there was nothing I could do with him. All I could do was try to protect myself from Cameron (Beaubier) and Josh (Hayes), but I was still struggling to do that. Roger did a great job today and I’m very happy for him. I still was able to leave with good points today.”
Monster Energy/Yamalube/Yamaha Factory Racing’s Josh Hayes finished a close third, the four-time Superbike Champion just .194 of a second behind Elias as the top three raced to the flag together.
“Today was a better day, I got off of the line well,” said Hayes. “I tried to be more patient with my passes and made some pretty good moves early on. There was some good racing going on and Roger (Hayden) kind of broke away from us all early. It was unfortunate the red flag came out and we had the restart. I was nervous about the restart, but managed to get another good jump. I’m just happy to finish ahead of the Superstock guys, who are going really fast at the moment.”
Cameron Beaubier had a day to forget just a day after winning his fifth race of the season when he ran off the track and out of the re-started portion of the race just after passing Elias for second place. The non-score puts Beaubier 85 points behind Elias with just two rounds (four races) left to run.
Fourth place went to Yamalube/Westby Racing’s Mathew Scholtz, the South African running right with the top three Superbikes and finishing just .910 of a second behind Hayes. He was fourth overall and the top Bazzaz Superstock 1000 finisher, giving him his seventh win of the season and a comfortable 64-point lead in the championship as the series heads to New Jersey Motorsports Park in two weeks.
Bobby Fong was second in the Bazzaz Superstock 1000 class and fifth overall after winning yesterday’s Superstock battle. The Quicksilver/Latus Motors Kawasaki rider was 2.8 seconds behind Scholtz and 1.2 seconds clear of third-placed Jake Lewis on the M4 ECSTAR Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Genuine Broaster Chicken Honda’s Jake Gagne ended up seventh, just behind Lewis and just ahead of Brixx Performance BMW’s Sylvain Barrier. TOBC Racing’s Danny Eslick and Décor Briliance/Lucas Oil/KWR’s Kyle Wyman rounded out the top 10.
Scholtz now leads Lewis in the championship by 64 points, 331-267. Fong is third, eight points behind Lewis in the fight for second in the title chase.
“I was just barely holding onto the Superbike pack today,” said Scholtz. “It took everything I had, which helped me pull away and gap the Superstock guys. I didn’t want to let the guys up front get away and was on the absolute edge. This is a brilliant track, I’d suggest a few minor changes, but overall this is one of the best tracks that I’ve been to in a while.”
Supersport: Gerloff x Two
Garrett Gerloff didn’t win by as much as he did on Saturday, but he still won and in dominating fashion at Pittsburgh International Race Complex, the Monster Energy/Yamalube/Y.E.S./ Graves Yamaha rider winning his eighth Supersport race of the season and his fifth in a row. This time by 8.3 seconds.
Second place for the second straight day went to M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Valentin Debise, the Frenchman running off track again but not to the extreme of yesterday’s run-off. Thus Debise ended up second, 6.1 seconds ahead of yesterday’s third-place finisher JD Beach.
Fourth place, barely, went to Team H35’s Benny Solis over Riderz Law/Aguilar Racing’s Jason Aguilar, who came away with the victory in the Superstock 600 class.
“It was a tougher race today for sure,” said Gerloff. “The tires dropped off a lot quicker for me today and it made it tough to maintain the same speed and consistency that I had yesterday. The track was awesome all weekend and I think that it’ll only continue to improve with more time on the new surface for when we come back. I’m looking forward to New Jersey and hope that we can keep the ball rolling.”
Gerloff now leads the Supersport Championship over Beach by 32 points, 296-264, with two rounds (four races) remaining. Debise is third, but 100 points behind Gerloff.
Yesterday’s Superstock 600 winner Anthony Mazziotto III was second in class today with Michael Gilbert rounding out the podium on his Team MG55 Yamaha. Aguilar leads Gilbert by 17 points in the Superstock 600 title chase. Nick McFadden, fourth today, jumps to third – 55 points behind.
Dumas Doubles Up In KTM RC Cup
Fifteen-year-old Canadian Alex Dumas won his first-ever KTM RC Cup race yesterday. Today he went out and won his second, the JP43 Junior Team rider again barely holding off Quarterley Racing/On Track Development’s Jackson Blackmon. This time the gap was larger, .239 of a second compared to .045 of a second, but the race was better with five riders running at the front for most of the 10 laps of the Pittsburgh International Race Complex.
While first and second were the same as yesterday, third place was different with points leader Benjamin Smith bouncing back from yesterday’s crash to finish third, just .293 of a second behind Dumas. CSVMoto’s Cory Ventura, third yesterday, slipped to fourth today and just under a second off the victor. Quarterley Racing/On Track Development’s Draik Beauchamp rounded out the top five.
Although he lost some points in his championship lead, Smith is still in control. He now leads Ventura by 24 points with two rounds (four races) remaining. Blackmon is third, 32 points behind Smith.
“It was a perfect weekend for me,” said Dumas. “I was good in practice Friday, qualifying, and really strong all weekend. I’m very happy with the setup that my mechanic has done this weekend as we have worked really hard. It was nice to win my first race yesterday, but even better to leave with both wins.”