2011 AMA Daytona Sportbike
Championship points leader Danny Eslick powered his GEICO Suzuki GSX-R around the Laguna Seca race course in 1:28.687 Saturday to earn a front row spot in Sunday’s AMA Pro Daytona SportBike race at the seventh annual Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix.
Eslick’s time positioned him third on the grid and puts him alongside championship rivals Jason DiSalvo (1:28.449) and Josh Herrin (1:28.650). With three races left this season, Eslick leads Herrin by 15 points and pole-sitter DiSalvo by 40 points.
Danny Eslick (GEICO Suzuki GSX-R600) says: "Our GEICO Suzuki seems to really like Laguna Seca this year. We got around the course really well in both qualifying sessions and we ended up on the front row, which is especially hard here because there are only three bikes per row instead of four. We’re all working together really well and it’s showing on the racetrack.
"At this level, you can never say that things come easy but the way we’re going right now, and with the great support we have from GEICO, Suzuki, Lucas Oil, Millennium Technologies, and everyone else who helps us, it’s about as stress-free as you can make it. I’m riding with a smile on my face."
Saturday’s two qualifying sessions gave Eslick and the rest of the pros two very different looks at the 2.23-mile layout of Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. The first session took place with a thick marine layer clinging to the hillsides. By Round 2, the fog had lifted and the sun was shining brightly on the racing surface.
Danny Eslick says: "The looks were definitely a little deceiving this morning, especially up at the top of the corkscrew. The moisture in the air seemed to collect in the upper area of my visor and you had to adjust the way you looked out, but it wasn’t that big of a deal, just a little sketchy.
"The second session was perfect. We all made some great laps and I was just glad at the end of it to be on the front row. It’ll give us a clear track for the start tomorrow."
Eslick won the 2009 AMA Pro Daytona SportBike championship and took the title in the Vance & Hines XR1200 class last season, while also finishing second in SportBike. This is his third season with Richie Morris Racing and GEICO.
Sunday’s 23-lap main event begins at 11:15 a.m. PDT and will be televised at 8 p.m. PST on SPEED.