The start of the AMA Barber Daytona Sport Bike (race #2) and the AMA final round – Barber Motorsports 9-25-10. Josh Herrin (at the top of the box) of Team Graves Yamaha and Clinton Seller or Project 1 Atlanta in start grid #4. You can also see Tommy Aquino and Dane Westby on the Graves Yamaha R6. This race was run in wet conditions. www.gravesport.com
Cypress California, October 5, 2010…Yamaha Motor Corporation U.S.A. and Graves Motorsports are pleased to announce that Josh Herrin has signed an agreement which will keep him with the team for the 2011 and 2012 racing seasons.
The 20 year old Herrin has just completed his fourth season on the Graves Motorsports prepared R6 and finished a very close third in the final AMA Daytona Sportbike Class Series Championship. Starting off the season with his win in The Daytona 200, arguably the most prestigious on the Tour, Josh went on to score five victories in the 2010 season. With his wins at Fontana, Road America, Mid Ohio and Virginia International Raceway, Josh and his R6 battled for the Championship all season long in one of the most hotly contested title fights in recent years,
“Josh is a tremendous talent and during his four years with us his results have just continued to get better and better,” said Keith McCarty “It’s unfortunate that he just missed the Championship this year but that extra experience will only work in his favor and we’re delighted to have him back on the Team.”
“I am very excited to have signed another 2 years with Yamaha and Graves Motorsports” said Josh. “It’s my goal to win the Daytona Sportbike Championship and after coming so close two years in a row I am more determined than ever. I would like to thank Keith McCarty and everyone at Yamaha as well as Chuck Graves for believing in me and giving me another shot at the title. My Yamaha R6 is a proven winner and I know it will help me tremendously in my fight. I am looking forward to returning to Daytona next spring to defend my win there and begin the 2011 season.”
Aboard his Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R1, Josh Hayes claimed his first career AMA Superbike championship at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. on Sunday, Sept. 26. The championship is also the first for Yamaha in America’s premier road-racing class since Thomas Stevens took the crown in 1991. Meanwhile Team Graves YZF-R6 mounted Josh Herrin finished third in the AMA Daytona SportBike championship, while Austin Dehaven won the AMA SuperSport title on his R6.
The Superbike title chase came right down to the final weekend of the season, with Hayes ahead in points but rival Tommy Hayden still able to take the championship if Hayes faltered. Thus, Hayes’ mission for the weekend was the same as it has been all year long – race to win, but this time with extra care. In the first race on Saturday afternoon, Hayes led the most laps and ultimately finished a secure second as his rival Tommy Hayden claimed the victory. The result set up a situation on Sunday where Hayes would win the title with an eighth-place or better finish, even if Hayden won.
Severe weather soaked the area on Sunday morning, and by race time a quarter of the circuit was still damp. Nonetheless Hayes settled into a great ride with the lead pack until Brett McCormick crashed, pushing Hayes off track and dropping him several seconds behind the group. From here though, Hayes rode to an easy seventh-place finish and a very sweet championship. “A huge thank you to Yamaha for bringing me onboard for my first Superbike ride,” he said afterwards. “I am glad I was able to race well and bring home the R1′s first AMA Superbike championship.”
Yamaha road racing team manager Tom Halverson added, “This is probably the best team we’ve ever had, and the effort that everyone has made to win the championship is just incredible. From the machinists to the secretaries back at Yamaha, thank you. The race crew has really been amazing this year too. Josh has been a great rider, and it’s easy to stand behind him because he puts in so much effort.”
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Veteran rider Ben Bostrom won both the pole and the race at the seventh round of the 2010 AMA Superbike season in Monterey, Calif. on Sunday, July 25. In front of a huge MotoGP crowd, the popular Californian set fast time to win the pole on his Pat Clark Motorsports (Graves Motorsports backed) YZF-R1 on Saturday, then chased Team Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes aboard another R1 for most of the race on Sunday. Bostrom captured the lead for good on the 15th of 23 laps, before he and Hayes pulled away for a fantastic 1-2 finish, the first Superbike win for Yamaha at Laguna Seca and Bostrom’s first Superbike win since 2004. In the weekend’s other races, Yamaha R6s swept the podium in SuperSport while Clinton Seller and Tommy Aquino finished third and fourth, respectively, in Daytona SportBike.
Bostrom is no stranger to pressure-cooker competition or to Laguna Seca, the undulating track with its famous Corkscrew freefall that Yamaha helps support. Variable weather patterns – foggy mornings and sunny afternoons – meant getting chassis setups right was crucial, and Bostrom and crew chief Robbie Petersen nailed it for Saturday qualifying, with BBoz posting a time nearly quick enough to put his R1 on the MotoGP grid, with Hayes just 0.2 sec. behind. Then things got crazy at the start of Sunday’s Superbike race, with Bostrom hot-shoeing it into Turn 2 alongside Hayes, emerging with the lead, and then dropping back a few positions after running wide in the Corkscrew and motocrossing through the dirt.
The consummate moment for BBoz came in Turn 5 on lap 15, when he got underneath Hayes for the lead – and then defended it beautifully with a handful of blistering laps before the flag. “Every time I ride into this track, it reminds me of home,” Bostrom grinned afterwards. “I love the fog and when I can ride up here and see the blue sky start to break through, it makes me happy – and a happy rider rides well.” Yamaha road race team manager Tom Halverson added, “It was a nice closing for Yamaha to follow up the MotoGP win with a Superbike win, especially since Yamaha has committed to sponsor this event for the next few years.”
Cypress California, July 21, 2010 – The stars of the MotoGP World Championship made their way to California this week. They’re headed for Laguna Seca, of course, but on Tuesday you could not have been blamed for thinking the race would be held in Burbank.
The suburb north of LA is normally home to a lot of television and film production and star sightings are commonplace, but on Tuesday it was teeming with motorcycle racers… Fiat Yamaha’s championship leader Jorge Lorenzo, Monster Tech 3 Yamaha riders Ben Spies and Colin Edwards; Yamaha legends Kenny Roberts Sr., Eddie Lawson, and Wayne Rainey – even AMA Superbike championship leader Josh Hayes and Ben Bostrom were all spotted in the nondescript warehouse district near Burbank’s Bob Hope Airport – not a typical transfer point on the way to Laguna Seca.
But avid motorcyclists know that Burbank is also the location of Jay Leno’s famous ‘Big Dog Garage.’ Leno, host of the Tonight Show, is a member of the AMA Hall of Fame. His garage (actually a 70,000 sq. ft. complex with several full time employees) houses over 200 motorcycles and cars – ranging from pioneer motorcycles like his 1918 Pope to an 800-horsepower ‘Ecojet’ car tuned to run on recycled cooking oil. It’s definitely a garage and not just a collection, since virtually every vehicle is licensed and insured; Jay rides and drives all of them.
The latest addition to Jay’s fleet is fast and exotic, even by his standards – an ex-Eric Bostrom AMA Superbike.
“Last Fall, Jay auctioned off a custom Star V-Max to benefit Bailey’s Cafe, a charity that we both support,” said Bob Starr. “We were thrilled with the results of that auction; it benefitted a very worthy cause. But we realized that when he sold his V-Max, it left him without a Yamaha in the garage.”
“We wanted to make sure that Jay had a unique bike, that reflects his uniquely effective role as an ambassador for our sport,” Starr continued. “This R1 Superbike is not something that can be purchased at any price. It is virtually as-ridden by Eric. We put it into storage at the end of the 2008 season. We just asked Chuck Graves of Graves Motorsports to go through it and make sure it was ready to ride again.” The bike was a surprise gift for Leno, who thought he’d only agreed to host a dinner for Yamaha’s MotoGP riders.
It was hard to tell who was more star-struck. Jay and his garage staff met a ‘who’s who’ of Yamaha racing history. But even legends like Eddie Lawson do a double-take when they see the scope of Jay’s garage and workshop. “There are so many vehicles in here,” said Lawson, “that are just works of art.”
Since all his bikes get ridden, it will be up to garage manager Bernard Juchli to find a place to hang a license plate on this factory superbike. When we asked Bernard how he’d manage to register it, he smiled and replied, “I can’t reveal that.”
The job of going through the ultra-trick R1 fell to Team Yamaha’s Chuck Graves. Graves made a few concessions to making the bike ‘streetable’; swapping the Magneti Marelli ECU for a YEC unit, and the race dash for one with a speedometer. But the engine internals, fork, swingarm and more are pure factory unobtanium. “This bike was built before we homologated parts,” said Graves, “so really, a lot of these components just aren’t for sale, at any price.”
In all, over 100 of Yamaha’s ‘friends and family,’ and representatives from Dorna and Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, attended the event, which included a great meal prepared by none other than Yamaha-USA’s own racing boss Keith McCarty. Tim Collins of Alpinestars presented Jay with a custom set of leathers to match the bike, and Troy Lee added a fantastic custom-painted Arai helmet, which included signatures and elements from the designs used by the legends and MotoGP riders at the dinner.
When he posed for photos with Lorenzo, Spies, and Edwards he quipped, “Yeah, this is great – I love being the slowest guy in the room.”
After dinner, as the event wound down, the riders prepared to travel up the coast to Laguna Seca and Jay – who works
Yamaha racers had a perfect day at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on Saturday, July 17, finishing 1-2 in the AMA Superbike race, winning the Daytona SportBike race and sweeping all three podium positions in SuperSport. As they have done twice before this season, Team Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes and Pat Clark Motorsports’ Ben Bostrom rode their YZF-R1s to first and second in the opening round of the weekend’s two Superbike races, while Graves’ Josh Herrin won the Daytona SportBike race aboard his YZF-R6. And in SuperSport, R6-mounted J.D. Beach and Cameron Beaubier went 1-2 on Saturday, with Yamaha improving on that to finish 1-2-3-4 on Sunday under the command of Beach, Beaubier, Tomas Puerta and Huntley Nash, respectively. Yamahas now lead all three championships, with Hayes ahead in Superbike, Herrin ahead in Daytona SportBike, and Beach leading SuperSport.
Despite a scary crash in Superbike qualifying that resulted in an injured thumb, the tenacious Bostrom qualified third behind Hayes and rival Tommy Hayden. He and Hayes attacked hard in Saturday’s Superbike race, leading each of the 21 laps to nearly a photo finish, with Bostrom just 0.219 sec. behind Hayes at the flag. The pair went on to finish Sunday’s race with Hayes second and Bostrom in fourth, his thumb too traumatized for him to go any faster. “Ben is a talented rider and he can dig deep, that’s for sure,” praised Yamaha road race team manager Tom Halverson. “As for the championship, it’s going to be a fight for Josh Hayes for the rest of the year. He’s strong and happy with the bike, and is completely ready for it. He is riding like a champion right now.”
Josh Herrin had to work hard for his Daytona SportBike win on Saturday, spurring his R6 to the front on the final lap. But it still wasn’t over, as Herrin had to defend against rivals Bobby Fong and Martin Cardenas, ultimately winning by just 0.045 sec. Graves teammate Tommy Aquino was fifth aboard another R6. At the conclusion of Saturday’s race Herrin had a comfortable 30-point advantage over Danny Eslick in the championship. But things can turn quickly in racing, and that’s exactly what happened on the last lap of Sunday’s race two. While running second, the back end snaked wide on Herrin under braking, bike and rider parted company, and the R6 cart-wheeled spectacularly. But Herrin ran to the still-rideable R6, now minus a windscreen and handlebar, and finished the race—and thus managed to leave Ohio with the points lead. “Josh has really developed into a mature racer,” Halverson added. “He hasn’t made a mistake in quite a while, and it was great to see him recover from this one and get back on track.”
(May 15, 2010)- Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R1 racer Josh Hayes swept to a pair of AMA Superbike wins in Sonoma, Calif. on Saturday and Sunday, May 15-16. The double wins – the fourth such pair in Hayes’ Superbike career – came at Infineon Raceway under pressure from fellow Yamaha pilot Ben Bostrom, who put in two second-place finishes aboard his own Pat Clark Motorsports R1. Yamaha YZF-R6s also figured highly in AMA Pro Daytona SportBike, with podiums by Tommy Aquino, Josh Herrin and Dane Westby over the weekend, and in AMA Pro SuperSport, where R6s took five of the six top places on Saturday and Cameron Beaubier won Sunday’s contest outright, leading a train of four R6s to the checkers.
The 2.3-mile, 11-turn Infineon track is regarded as one of the most challenging on the AMA Superbike circuit because its serpentine layout and undulating terrain make it difficult for riders to put the power of the big superbikes to ground. Although Hayes had earned the top qualifying spot, rival Blake Young took the early lead in Saturday’s race one – but that didn’t stop Hayes from utilizing the crossplane crankshaft R1’s potent combination of tractable power and quick handling to lunge to the front on the first lap. Impressively, Hayes then lead all 22 race laps, edging Bostrom to the checkered flag by just under 3.7 seconds.
Sunday’s race two saw rival Larry Pegram get the early jump on the field, but Hayes got past on lap six and then rode the rest of the race up front while Bostrom eventually worked his way into second. “It’s hard to utilize all the horsepower a superbike makes at a track like this,” Hayes admitted later. “But the R1 is so good through the bumpy parts, I almost felt like I was cheating! I could get on the throttle early, and when you can do that there are lots of opportunities.” Yamaha road racing team manager Tom Halverson added, “We had a really good test here and the riders and crews gained a lot of confidence, so it was good to see the hard work pay off. For sure it was a great weekend for the entire team.”
2010 AMA Superbike Points 5/16/10
Pos. Rider Points
1 Jake Zemke 178
2 Tommy Hayden 174
3 Josh Hayes – Yamaha 170
4 Blake Young 162
5 Larry Pegram 134
2010 AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Points 5/16/10
Pos. Rider Points
1 Danny Eslick 168
2 Josh Herrin – Yamaha 158
3 Martin Cardenas 133
4 Dane Westby – Yamaha 129
5 Cory West 119