BigM Weekend Recap: GoPro Daytona SportBike
NEWS May 30, 2012
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
Three men have emerged at the front in the AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike class in recent races. Martin Cardenas (GEICO Suzuki), Jason DiSalvo (Latus Motors Racing Triumph) and Cameron Beaubier (Y.E.S Graves Yamaha). The trio fought at the front once again in Utah, with Cardenas grabbing a nail-biter from DiSalvo with a last-lap pass that culminated a hectic two-day weekend plagued with changing weather conditions.
Cardenas won pole again but DiSalvo led into turn one on the first lap. Beaubier, Benny Solis (Kneedraggers.com Yamaha) and Jake Zemke (Ducshop Ducati) got away quickly to set the early pace.
Beaubier made his case, taking the point on lap two before a dice with DiSalvo developed. Cardenas held his ground in third, conscious of tire issues caused by the cool temperatures.
By halfway, Cardenas had relegated Beaubier to third and the Colombian put his head down to chase DiSalvo, who had tried to make a break. The Triumph rider set his best individual lap time on lap nine.
The acknowledged master of late-race charges, Cardenas added to his reputation with a relentless pursuit of DiSalvo, who gave Cardenas little hope as the New Yorker clicked off mistake-free laps. Cardenas tried forcing the issue under braking on the last lap, but it did not work the first time he tried it and it seemed as if his best chance to pass was gone.
Cardenas got a strong drive going down into Club corner, however, and made a great block pass on the #40 bike. Just then, the duo encountered lapped traffic. Cardenas was able to get through the two backmarkers better than DiSalvo to take the win.
"Jason got a gap in the middle of the race and I had to push very hard to catch up," said Cardenas. "I was planning to make a move in the hairpin but he was faster to the inside. It didn't work for me then, but the last two corners I got a good drive and I could try."
Cardenas now leads the championship over Tommy Hayden (Y.E.S. Graves Yamaha) by 31 and DiSalvo by 32.
"That last lap was tough. Martin rode a great race," DiSalvo said. "I put my head down in the middle of the race but I think I might have burned up my tire a little bit. I knew Martin was charging hard but I gave it all we had."
Beaubier had has hands full with Zemke in the late going. With three to go, Zemke made his way past, but Beaubier denied him of a trip to the podium.
"At the beginning, DiSalvo and I were trading positions back and forth, I burned up my tire and couldn't keep the pace," Beaubier said. "Zemke got around me with four or five to go. After that, I couldn't gather myself up until the last lap or two. I'm happy with the result but I want to keep the pace with the front two guys."
Zemke ran wide but was able to consolidate fourth, ahead of Meen Motorsports' Bobby Fong, who is having a strong season for a small team.
After poor starts, Dane Westby (M4 Suzuki) and J.D. Beach (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull) hooked up and were able to run down and pass Solis, who was in his first ride for his new squad in Utah. Westby took sixth, Beach seventh, and Solis eighth.
Championship hopeful Hayden had a disappointing Utah but was able to get ninth ahead of Jake Gagne (RoadRace Factory/Red Bull) who never got his bike completely dialed at Miller Motorsports Park.
The class now goes to Road America and the field will look to close the points gap Cardenas has been able to build.
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