AMA Daytona SportBikeSONOMA, CA (May 15, 2010) – In his usual quiet, yet effective way, Team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki rider Martin Cardenas once again took a well-judged and hard-fought victory here today in the first of two AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL motorcycle races at Infineon Raceway.
Once again, the Daytona SportBikes showed the fans and SPEED TV viewers just how competitive this class is with another thrilling battle in the hills of Sonoma, California’s 2.32-mile, eleven-turn road course. Cardenas, a double winner here last year and also at the last race at Road Atlanta, continued his winning ways with a race-long battle with pole position winner Tommy Aquino (Team Graves Yamaha), reigning Daytona SportBike Champion Danny Eslick (Geico Powersports/RMR Suzuki) and 2010 Daytona SportBike points leader Josh Herrin. Also in the mix was Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha rider Dane Westby and DNR Energy Drink/CNR Motorsports Ducati man Bobby Fong. Aquino led from pole, again in search of his first win, but the ever-present Eslick passed Aquino but couldn’t get away from the tightly bunched first four riders. Herrin, Cardenas and Westby were right together and eventually Cardenas passed Herrin and then got by Aquino and thus began a stirring battle between the aggressive Eslick and the smooth yet fast Cardenas. Westby and Fong were having their own private battle until Fong unfortunately suffered a fall in turn four, ending his day. As the leaders battled amongst themselves, the many other Daytona SportBike competitors began to become factors as the fast guys sliced and diced their way through the traffic. More than once it seemed that disaster was imminent only to have the leaders pull through and continue their battles unabated. Cardenas pulled a superb passing maneuver by going around the outside of Eslick going into the turn nine right/left complex. But, Eslick is never beaten and he got back by Cardenas at the top of the circuit a couple of times with an inside move of his own. Cardenas never lost his cool and he repassed Danny after the two ran side-by-side through what was thought to be a one line only series of turns. The matter was finally and unfortunately settled coming out of the last turn on the penultimate lap when a back marker just bulked Danny enough coming out of the turn, allowing Cardenas to get the slightest gap he needed to hold off the ever-charging Eslick for the win in race one of two Daytona SportBike races this weekend.Aquino and Westby also battled all the way to the flag, followed by a traffic-delayed Josh Herrin. Vesrah Suzuki rider Chris Fillmore was sixth and Westby’s Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha teammate, Clinton Seller in seventh. Front-row starter Steve Rapp had a slight problem at the start on his Team Latus Motors Ducati but battled back from 24th to eighth place at the finish.Race two of the doubleheader AMA Pro Road Racing weekend at Infineon Raceway will be tomorrow and it remains to be seen if Eslick can get his first win of the season, or if Aquino can take his first Daytona SportBike win.