AMA: Eslick Takes his Fourth Win at Mid-Ohio
AMA Pro Racing Press Release
Danny Eslick grabbed his fourth career AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL victory on the No. 9 GEICO Powersports/RMR Buell 1125R in Race One of the Honda Super Cycle Weekend at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course.
Eslick started the day strong by claiming the pole in Saturday morning's final qualifying effort. The grid was set by that result as the weekend's basic qualifying and Superpole sessions were canceled due to a Friday afternoon rain shower. By the end of the race's first lap, Eslick had built up a .551 second lead over the No. 88 Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R of Jamie Hacking, who steadily chipped away at the lead over the ensuing laps before taking the point in Turn 6 on Lap 7. Hacking held the lead for two laps until mechanical troubles sidelined him for the race on Lap 9.
"I got a good start, right off the bat and led a couple of laps," said Eslick. "I didn't see anybody coming through, which usually happens as everybody's really aggressive the first few laps. I knew we had kind of pulled away and then Jamie came by. I think I was on the brakes the first time and he came up. He came by me and we battled back and forth for a lap or two and when he had his problem, I almost ran up his exhaust pipe. He did a good job getting his hand up and out of the way, so good job there. It could have been real ugly in that spot."
Graves Yamaha teammates Josh Herrin and Tommy Aquino held an aggressive battle for position throughout the 21-lap sprint race. At the end of the first lap, Aquino's No. 6 Yamaha YZF-R6 led Herrin's No. 8 Yamaha YZF-R6 to the line, but the rookie couldn't hold the position and was passed by Herrin on Lap 2. The Graves duo moved up the ranks as attrition hit riders Hacking and Martin Cardenas, who was running in third position aboard the No. 36 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600 before low siding at the exit of Turn 8 on Lap 5. Aquino was able to squeeze by Herrin again on Lap 9 before Herrin used a block pass on Lap 10 to get by both Aquino and Jake Zemke's No. 1X Erion Honda CBR600RR to take second position.
"I think when (Tommy) passed me, he went to put a move on Jake going into (Turn) 5 on the brakes and I just decided I am going to get both these guys and just dove in there and made a move," said Herrin. "It wasn't purposefully a block pass, but it sort of ended up being a block pass. I just rode defensive from there and luckily we held on to second."
Aquino was also able to get past Zemke, challenging Herrin for the remainder of the race and allowing Eslick to slip away to a 2.318 second lead by the end of the race. The third place finish was Aquino's his first AMA Pro podium finish.
"It was really hard," said Aquino. "I was going as hard as I could, my tires were spent and I was just trying as hard as I could to stay where I was at and try to take a position if I could. I am really happy with this podium. It is my first podium with AMA Pro Racing. I really just have to thank my team."
Zemke turned the fastest lap of the race in Lap 6 at 1:28.160 and ran as high as second before finishing fourth. Chaz Davies rounded out the top five on the No. 57 Factory Aprilia Millennium Technologies Team Aprilia RSV1000R. Points leader Cardenas recovered to finish 12th and holds the championship lead over Eslick 264-244.