Ricky Parker picked up his second career AMA Pro SuperSport presented by Shoei victory, Mat Mladin kept his 2009 pole-winning record intact in AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited qualifying and Martin Cardenas earned his first career AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL pole position in qualifying at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Riding the No. 96 Graves Motorsports Yamaha YZF-R6, Parker qualified on the pole position earlier in the day, pulled out into the lead on the race’s standing start and was never challenged on his way to the SuperSport victory by 12.723 seconds over Russ Wikle. Parker earned his first SuperSport win in May at Infineon Raceway — his first start in the series — and finished second last time out at Road America.
Those performances coupled with today’s victory move him to the top of the SuperSport West championship standings, despite the fact that he missed the first two rounds of the season. Parker now leads Tyler Odom — who finished 15th and earned no points after a first-lap crash today — by 14 points, 88-74, after five of seven races.
Ricky Parker Speaks….
"It’s never easy," Parker said. "I had a lot of pressure on the start. I was worrying about these two guys (Wikle and Bryce Prince) catching back up with me and passing me during the race. I pulled a fast gap at the beginning and I think Russell did a bunch of mistakes at the beginning and lost the gap. When you lose eye contact, it’s hard to keep up with the guy in front of you, but he’s an awesome rider. I know he could have been there if he hadn’t done those few mistakes in the beginning. The Yamaha was working awesome today. The Graves guys did an awesome job this weekend, and the Arai helmets worked awesome like always."
Finishing second after starting second was Wikle on the No. 5 Roadracingworld.com Suzuki GSX-R600. It was the third podium result of the season for the SuperSport East championship contender.
Russ Winkle Speaks…
"First off, you can’t be disappointed with a podium finish," Wikle said. "I’d like to be on top, but I guess that’s reserved for my boy Ricky over here. The race started off pretty good. I got a mediocre start and I was second into (Turn) 2 here. I really wanted to put my head down and try and stay with Ricky, but I think I made a couple of mistakes early on and let him get an early gap. It just kind of went downhill from there, trying to keep up with him. Then, I just worried about keeping the bike in second place and bringing it home. I’ve got to say ‘thanks’ to Roadracingworld.com, Suzuki, AGV helmets and Dainese leathers."
Coming out on top in the race’s most pitched battle was Prince on the No. 74 Sho-Gun Motorsports Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R. Prince fought James Rispoli for position virtually throughout the race on the way to his first SuperSport podium result of the year.
Tyler Prince Speaks…
"It was a pretty good battle the whole race with James," said Prince. "The last two laps, I just pushed as hard as I could and I ended up putting a gap on him, just a little bit to hold him off to the finish line."
Rispoli came home fourth on the No. 71 Roadracingworld.com Suzuki GSX-R600. It was Rispoli’s second fourth-place result in as many SuperSport starts this season. Garrett Willis filled out the top five on the No. 80 Mach 1 Motorsports Yamaha YZF-R6.
Mladin Takes Seventh American Superbike Pole in Seven Tries
Mladin led a top-three sweep for the Yoshimura Suzuki team in qualifying, riding his No. 7 Rockstar/Makita/Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 to a best lap of 1:24.592 (95.243 mph) to earn the pole position. The Aussie has now qualified on the pole seven times in seven qualifying sessions this season and owns 62 career American Superbike poles. He heads into Sunday’s race looking for his 10th victory of the season and the 82nd of his career.
Mat Mladin Speaks…
"It was a good lap for us," Mladin said. "We’ve just been frantically working on the bike trying to make some improvement. Throughout each session, we’ve made some. We’re just trying to get it to consistently do good lap times and it feels pretty good. We made a couple of changes there before the last time we went out and they certainly helped out a little bit. Hopefully, we can make some more in the morning."
Starting second will be Blake Young on the No. 79 Rockstar/Makita/Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 with a lap at 1:24.936 (94.858 mph). For a time in the session, Young seemed poised to take his first American Superbike pole, but a late flyer by Mladin relegated him to second on the grid. He is looking for his first American Superbike victory.
Blake Young Speaks…
"It went really good for us today," said Young. "I mean, every time we get on the bike, we improve the bike a little bit better. I got some laps out there and I think we’re going to be good for the race. I think we’ve got a pretty decent race setup and qualifying went good. We got a good lap in there and we’re up on the front row, so I’ve got to really thank my Rockstar/Makita/Suzuki/Yoshimura guys for doing good for me this weekend and getting us up here."
Tommy Hayden made it three Yoshimura Suzukis in the top-three starting spots with a lap at 1:25.075 (94.702 mph). It is Hayden’s fourth front-row starting position of the season and he heads into Sunday’s race second in the American Superbike championship standings trailing Mladin by 110 points, 325-215. He has finished on the podium in six of 11 races this season, but is still looking for his first win on an American Superbike as well.
Tommy Hayden Speaks…
"It feels good," Hayden said. "Obviously, the bike is working pretty good with all three of us up here. I feel like we’ve made a few improvements since the last race. The team’s been working hard, so I’d like to thank those guys. They’ve made things a little easier, basically, since I’ve been here. From the time I rolled out, things were coming a little easier this weekend, and things are going pretty smooth. I thought I could have gone a little bit quicker than that, but I’m glad to be on the front row. That was really what I wanted more than anything, to make sure I didn’t get stuck back a little bit."
Larry Pegram, who picked up his first American Superbike victory in 10 years in the most recent race last month at Road America, completed the front row with a lap at 1:25.199 (94.564 mph) on the No. 72 Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing Ducati 1098R. It was Pegram’s second front-row qualifying performance of the season and his first since the season-opening round at Daytona in March.
Larry Pegram Speaks…
"Obviously, we’ve got a lot of momentum coming from Road America, but this is a different track in a different place and we’ve got all different obstacles," Pegram said. "The bike is pretty good. I think we’re battling the same thing as everybody. The grip, for some reason with us, seems to be down here this year. I never got a clean lap the whole time, and you get frustrated when you keep catching guys and losing time and you don’t get to put your best lap in, and that’s kind of what it was for us. We’re on the front row, which is good, because I know my bike is great off the start and I’m really good on the start, so we’ll try to get out front. I think on race pace, we’re good."
Josh Hayes completed the top five with a lap at 1:25.276 (94.479 mph) on the No. 4 Yamaha Motor Corp. USA Yamaha R1. It was Hayes’ fifth consecutive top-five qualifying performance. The top seven riders in the session were covered by less than one second.
The American Superbike race wraps up the festivities at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix weekend on Sunday afternoon. The 23-lap (50-mile) race is slated to roll off from a standing start at 4:15 p.m. local time. Same-day television coverage of the American Superbike race and all of the AMA Pro events at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca airs on SPEED beginning at 9:00 p.m. PT on Sunday night (late Sunday/early Monday at Midnight ET).
Cardenas Scores First Career AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Pole
While Martin Cardenas has set the 2009 AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL championship on its ear to the tune of six victories and a 51-point lead in the point standings, it took until today for the Colombian to score his first career pole position.
Riding the No. 36 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600, Cardenas posted a best lap at 1:27.585 (91.988 mph) to take the top starting spot for Sunday’s race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. Cardenas has won five of the last six Daytona SportBike races and heads into the race leading Jamie Hacking in the point standings by a count of 255-204.
Martin Cardenas Speaks…
"I’ve never started from the pole," said Cardenas. "This is my first pole position ever and I’m very happy with it. I hope that tomorrow’s race will be good again. It went pretty good. Yesterday, the bike was working okay and we managed to improve the setup every session. Today, in this qualifying session, the bike was great. I want to thank the team, M4, and all the sponsors, Suzuki, Arai, Arlen Ness, everybody. They’re doing awesome. Everything can happen in a race, but I think we’re going to be, like, five, six riders in the front and battling for all the race. It’s going to be tough."
Joining Cardenas on the front row will be Ben Bostrom on the No. 1s Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R6 at 1:28.035 (91.518 mph). Bostrom is making just his second Daytona SportBike start of the season at the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix and won in his lone previous start, the prestigious Daytona 200 By Honda to open the 2009 campaign. Earlier in the afternoon, Bostrom qualified eighth for the American Superbike race.
Ben Bostrom Speaks…
"The front row, I don’t like starting there, I’ll be honest," Bostrom said. "We’ve got our work cut out. That tire is hard to ride on, that is for sure, so it’s a real balancing act out there. You try to go fast and you actually go slower. It doesn’t reward any kind of fast-paced riding. You’ve got to go out there and set your pace, be real gingerly on the tire and roll around. It’s the strangest feeling to go out there and ride 80 percent and go 29-flat and ride 100 percent and go 29.5 and actually lose time. Hopefully, they’ll get the tires a little more sorted. Hats off to the guys, they’ve been doing a great job."
Securing the inside of Row 2 was Bostrom’s teammate, Josh Hayes on the No. 4 Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R6. Hayes posted a best qualifying lap at 1:28.122 (91.427 mph). Like Bostrom, Hayes is also making his first Daytona SportBike appearance since the Daytona 200 and he too is pulling double duty. He starts fifth in American Superbike.
Josh Hayes Speaks…
"Actually, I think qualifying has been my best session so far," Hayes said. "We’ve made a few improvements to the bike. Ben (Bostrom) and I don’t have a whole lot of time on this bike. Ben’s got all of last year on the R6. For me, I’m still fairly new to the R6. I had a pretty good Daytona on it. Here, we’re riding on different tires than what we rode on at Daytona with the Dunlop control tires. They’re different here. I’m happy I’m third. It’s the second row for this class, but I feel like I’m in a good position. If I ride a smart race, hopefully I’ll be there at the end of that, too. I’m pretty happy with where I’m at."
Wearing patriotic, red, white and blue leathers on Independence Day, Josh Herrin completed the top four in Daytona SportBike qualifying with a lap at 1:28.144 (91.405 mph) on the No. 8 Graves Motorsports Yamaha YZF-R6. Unlike fellow Yamaha riders Bostrom and Hayes, Herrin has contested the full Daytona SportBike season and currently ranks fifth in the championship standings. He heads into Sunday’s race looking for his first career Daytona SportBike win.
Josh Herrin Speaks…
"I think it’s one of the best qualifying efforts this year," Herrin said. "I’m back to the same format that we were at last year, so I’m able to do a little bit better. I’m still working on the Superpole thing. We threw on the soft today and it just didn’t quite do the job, so we ended up going faster on the race tire within five laps of going out. I think tomorrow we’re really prepared for the race. We’re going to try and give it our all. We’re one of the most consistent times right now. We’re not just trying to throw in one good time. We had the chance to do a string of times and I think everything is great for tomorrow."
Jason DiSalvo, who has taken each of the last four Daytona SportBike Superpoles, qualified fifth today on the No. 40 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600 with a best lap at 1:28.170 (91.378 mph). The top nine riders in the session were covered by less than one second.
The 23-lap (50-mile) Daytona SportBike final takes the green flag on Sunday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. local time.