AMA Sportbike Results
Team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas was a major player in Saturday’s thrilling AMA Pro Daytona SportBike final at Mid-Ohio, scrapping hard at the front en route to his seventh podium result of the season.
Cardenas got away quickly aboard his GSX-R600 from his outside front row qualifying position, picking up a couple spots and ultimately taking control of the contest at the front as the race settled in.
The former Spanish Supersport champion found himself embroiled in a four-rider dogfight for victory as the laps ticked away. He traded the top spot back and fourth multiple times during the decisive final two laps. He reestablished the lead with less than two laps remaining but was pushed back to second entering Turn 2 on the final lap.
Martin made a stunning pass around the outside on the brakes at the end of the back straight to take the lead once more, however, his maneuver was countered by a similarly brave inside move with a turn later. A subsequent minor miscalculation saw him bumped down to the third in the final run to the checkered flag by a meager 0.206 seconds.
After the race he explained…
Martin Cardenas says: “I made a good start and was in second and then third for a while before moving into the lead. I tried to set a good pace–not on my limit, but a good pace but I wasn’t gapping anyone so I tried to just maintain the pace.
“I was dropped down to second for a few laps and in the final three laps I tried to think what I was going to do. I made a move two laps from the end and was thinking someone might try to pass me on the back straight, but he came a little bit earlier.”
“So I passed him back in the hard braking but I didn’t shut the door like I should and he put the bike on my inside and there was nothing I could do. Then on the next corner I made a small mistake and I opened the door again and got passed again.
“Still, it’s a good result. My bike was working really good, but unfortunately it wasn’t the result that we needed in order to close the gap in the championship. We’ll try again tomorrow and see what happens.”
Team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki enjoyed a strong showing in the American Superbike class on Saturday as well. Jake Holden and Chris Ulrich ran in formation aboard their GSX-R1000s early in the contest, holding down seventh and eighth position.
Holden put in a charge at mid-distance, ultimately clawing his way up to a fifth-place result at the conclusion of the grueling 21-lap affair contested in extreme heat. It equalled his best result of the season and was his second straight fifth-place finish.
Jake Holden says: “I was a pretty good race for us. I got a bad start and got stuck behind some guys for a little bit. Once I finally got some space, I started catching the guys a little further ahead and made up some positions.
“I’ve just been having a few issues getting comfortable with the front end of this bike and it seems like with a full fuel load it works better for me but once the fuel starts going away I lost a little bit of feel. I saw I had a gap back to sixth so I kind of backed off with a few laps to go. I’m hoping we can improve some for tomorrow and run at the front. That’s our goal and we’re improving.”
Ulrich added a second top ten result for the squad in Superbike, coming home in ninth after moving into seventh at one point in the race. His hopes for an even higher position were dashed when his tire went off in the closing laps.
Team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki will round out the Mid-Ohio round on Sunday with the second half of the weekend’s SportBike and Superbike doubleheaders.