John Hopkins: 8th at Road Atlanta
Team M4 Report
Team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas got his weekend off to a quick start at Road Atlanta on Friday, securing a spot on the provisional front row of the AMA Pro Daytona SportBike grid.
The Colombian, who ranked near the top of the charts throughout the day’s free practice and qualifying session, registered the day’s third best time aboard his GSX-R600. His best time of 1:29.644 was just 0.148 seconds off of the provisional pole in a bunched up session that saw the top seven riders lap within 0.4 seconds of one another, setting the stage for yet another thrilling weekend of Daytona SportBike race action.
Martin Cardenas says: "Today was good," Martin said following qualifying. "The bike is feeling very good. We’re going to try a couple things for tomorrow to improve the set-up a little bit for a few parts of the track but the pace right now is very strong. We are posting fast laps consistently."
The Auto Club Speedway race winner finds himself playing catch-up early in the season, currently ranked sixth in points after a couple early falls. The former Spanish Supersport champion is determined to find the ultimate balance that will allow him to win with regularity while avoiding the costly mistake.
He explained, "I will try to win as many races as I can, but I also will try to not to crash more because I think that’s enough for the moment. I’ll just do the best I can in every race and try to win as many as possible. I think tomorrow in the race there will be maybe six bikes battling for the lead. I think it’s going to be a very interesting race — a great battle."
Meanwhile in the AMA Pro American Superbike class, John Hopkins put his GSX-R1000 on the provisional second row while Chris Ulrich missed out on a spot in the top ten by a meager 0.054 seconds.
Hopkins clocked a fastest lap of 1:26.470 to rank eighth best on Friday with an eye on improving further during tomorrow morning’s final qualifying session in preparation of the first of two 20-lap Superbike finals.
Ulrich’s quick time was 1:27.776, which puts him on the third row provisionally, eleventh fastest on the day.
On Saturday Team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki will claim their grid positions at Road Atlanta in the morning’s final qualifying sessions and then kick off the weekend’s races in the afternoon.