Hayes Ends Suzuki’s Dominance, Wins First Title For Yamaha Since 1991
Hayes, a 35 year-old veteran and two-time AMA Formula Xtreme champion (2006-07), was locked in a season-long battle with Rockstar Makita Yoshimura Suzuki ace Tommy Hayden, as the two traded wins at almost every round.
They combined to win 12 of the 19 races (7 for Hayes, 5 for Hayden), collected another 12 second place results, and left the rest of the field in their wake. Jake Zemke, who finished third, was 120 points behind Hayden.
In the end, the Graves Motorsports Yamaha rider secured the championship by recording second and seventh place finishes in the final round at Barber Motorsports Park to edge Hayden 466-452 in the final standings.
Hayes’ title (his first in Superbike) broke Suzuki’s stranglehold on the championship – at least temporarily – which had lasted for more than a decade. Coming into 2010, Suzuki had won all but one Superbike title dating back to 1999, and seven straight since 2003 (Hayden’s younger brother Nicky won the 2002 championship for Honda).
In fact, Hayes became only the fourth different rider to win the AMA’s top class since 1999, joining a short list of champions that includes Hayden, Mat Mladin (7 titles) and Ben Spies (3).