In an exciting, seesaw battle between Team M4 Suzuki teammates Cardenas and Jason DiSalvo that lasted for the final two-thirds of the race, Cardenas took the lead from DiSalvo for the final time on the penultimate lap to take his second AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL victory in three races on Saturday.
While Jamie Hacking and Josh Herrin both led in the early stages of the race, Cardenas and DiSalvo established themselves as the main protagonists for the victory on Lap 7 after both riders dispatched Herrin. Cardenas led Laps 7-12 of the 21-lap race on his No. 36 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600, and then DiSalvo took his turn in the lead on the No. 40 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600 for Laps 13 to 19 before Cardenas’ decisive pass.
1st – Martin Cardenas Speaks…
"This one felt really tough, because I think the track is very demanding physically," said Cardenas. "I had a huge battle with him for 10 laps or maybe more. At the beginning, I tried to put a gap to him, but I pushed and saw that I wasn’t doing much so I tried to stay in a rhythm. Two laps later, he passed me and I started to look for his stronger points. Two laps from the end, I made a move on him, put my head down and tried to ride as fast as I could. I pulled a little bit of a gap and it worked out to the end. It was a great race and I want to thank the team for giving me a great bike. Suzuki, M4, all the guys, thank you very much."
After starting from the pole and coming tantalizingly close to his first Daytona SportBike victory, DiSalvo settled for a season-best result of second. He previously finished third in the Daytona 200 and the second race of the doubleheader at Auto Club Speedway in March.
2nd – Jason DiSalvo Speaks…
"Martin and I just had such a fantastic race," DiSalvo said. "There’s not much I can say. It was awesome. Where he passed me, it was such a great pass. I honestly didn’t think he was going to be able to make it stick, but he did, and then he really put his head down. We hung in there pretty good for the last lap, but there was just nothing we could do. Both bikes were just so evenly matched that it made it difficult. Tomorrow, we’ve just got to try to get out in the lead and stay there."
Hacking’s No. 88 Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R appeared to be one of the quickest bikes on the circuit for most of the event, and Hacking led the first lap before near disaster struck in the final turn on Lap 2. Hacking nearly crashed but managed to get the bike righted, albeit dropping all the way to eighth in the running order. He chipped away over the remaining laps to take the final spot on the box in third place.
3rd – Jamie Hacking Speaks…
"The bike worked great," said Hacking. "We managed to run down Josh there, and I was able to put in some good laps and make Josh push up to the back of these guys. Once I got around Josh, unfortunately, we got into the lapped riders. Josh got hung up a little bit, and it’s unfortunate that happened, but it’s just the way things go. Once I got around him, I managed to somewhat reel these guys (Cardenas and DiSalvo) in just a little bit. I could see them, but by that time, the race was pretty much over. I’m glad to finish third, actually."
Herrin, who led five laps, came home fourth on the No. 8 Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R6, one spot ahead of teammate Tommy Aquino, who finished fifth on the No. 6 Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R6. Danny Eslick came home eighth on the No. 9 Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Racing/RMR Buell 1125R to retain the Daytona SportBike points lead.
The second race of the Daytona SportBike doubleheader at the Honda Superbike Classic is slated for 2:00 p.m. local time tomorrow afternoon.