AMA Daytona Sportbike
AllAboutBikes Staff Writer
After a four-bike crash that brought out the safety car for four laps at Infineon Raceway during Race 1 in AMA Daytona Sportbike Saturday, Martin Cardenas on the No. 36 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600 remained calm behind the field until taking the lead on lap 12, out-running the 40-rider field to his fourth victory of the season.
The native of Columbia finished 2.158 seconds ahead of Jamie Hacking on the No. 88 Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki ZX-6R and third-place finisher Steve Rapp on the No 15 Bazzaz Yamaha YZF-R6 at the Kawasaki Superbike Showdown presented by Supercuts, making for three different manufacturers on the podium after the 22-lap race.
“The heat was very tough this race for me because physically it wears you out a lot,” Cardenas told reporters. “I started seventh and had to work my way up; as soon as I got to second behind Steve (Rapp) I tried to stay a little behind him, but then I decided to pass him. I tried to put a gap on him because I know he's really strong here. I tried my best and put a gap of one second and tried to maintain that the whole race.”
During the restart on lap 6, the Daytona Sportbike points leader Hacking had a mishap in Turn 1, causing him to fall back several positions after an off-course excursion. But he fought his way back, passing Rapp in the braking zone of Turn 9a for his fourth second-place finish this season. Hacking has yet to see a win.
Rapp’s third-place finish was a season best. The 2007 Daytona 200 winner’s other best finish this season was sixth at Road Atlanta. Finishing fourth was Chaz Davies on the No. 57 Factory Aprilia Millennium Technologies Team Aprilia RSV100R and fifth went to Danny Eslick on the No. 9 Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Racing/RMR Buell 1125R.
Winning by more than a tenth of a second over Jason DiSalvo on the No. 40 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600, Martin Cardenas swept both races at Infineon Raceway for his fifth success of the Daytona Sportbike season. The Colombian upped his lead in the series’ standing to 24 points over Jamie Hacking on the Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki.
“Today’s race was very tough, like yesterday’s race, but it was a little bit different because we got to the front a little earlier and led a lot of laps,” Cardenas told reporters. “It’s very tough because of the pressure…Jason was there…the whole time so I needed to keep focused. I knew Jason would try to pass on the last lap so I tried to ride as hard as I could and shut the door. It worked out this time. It was an awesome race.”
According to AMA reports, third-place finisher Josh Herrin on the No. 8 Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R6 led the most laps after passing pole-sitter DiSalvo on the first lap heading into Turn 3, holding off the M4 teammates for the opening 11 laps. DiSalvo grabbed the top spot back on Lap 12 as he and Cardenas passed Herrin in Turn 7. The final pass for the lead came in Lap 13 as Cardenas snuck past DiSalvo under hard braking in Turn 9.
Tommy Aquino on the No. 6 Team Graves Yamaha YXF-R6 ran in fifth place most of the race, but was passed by 2008 Formula Xtreme Champion and eventual fifth-place finisher Jake Zemke on the No. 1X Erion Racing Honda CBR600RR during the final lap to finish fourth.
Cardenas goes into the next round with 203 championship points, with Jamie Hacking (No. 88 Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R) slipping to second with 179 points and Danny Eslick (No. 9 Bruce Rossmeyer's Daytona Racing/RMR Buell 1125R) falling to third with 168 points.
Round Six for AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL will be the Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin at Road America from June 5 - 7.