Motorcycle Racing News Suzuki's Cardenas: A Return to Sportbike

Suzuki’s Cardenas: A Return to Sportbike

2012 AMA Daytona Sportbike

The most successful rider in Daytona SportBike class history – Martin Cardenas – will be racing for more records and another championship aboard the GEICO Suzuki beginning at this weekend’s Daytona 200 at Daytona International Speedway.

Cardenas secured the Daytona SportBike title in 2010 by winning nine of the 18 races on the schedule before moving to Superbike last season. He did well on the bigger motorcycles also, taking a rare rookie victory in three podium finishes and being named the AMA Pro Road Racing Rookie of the Year.

But now the man of Medellin, Columbia, is back in the class where he’s won a record 16 times, looking for more trophies as part of a superstar assault from Chris Ulrich Racing and Team Hammer.

Martin Cardenas (GEICO Suzuki GSX-R600 Sportbike) says: "I’m excited to get started. We recently tested the GEICO Suzuki and it felt fantastic to get back on the bike and work with my new crew. We tested some new parts for the bike and I believe we are ready for the 200."

Cardenas and the rest of the Daytona SportBike pros will hit the 3.5-mile, 12-turn course for the first time at noon and 3:55 p.m. Thursday with a pair of practice sessions. The action then shifts to qualifying rounds at 8:45 a.m. and 1:10 p.m. Friday, which will set the field for Saturday’s main event, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

Martin Cardenas says: "This is a big race for many reasons. It’s the first race of the year so you want to start strong and limit your mistakes. This is very important at Daytona because we have pit stops during the race. That makes it unique. It will be a challenging race, but we will try to put in a strong performance.

"Fortunately, this team has been together for a long time and they are very professional. They know how to win. I don’t anticipate any problems. We are prepared for success."

This is the first race for Cardenas and Chris Ulrich Racing with sponsorship from GEICO, an industry leader with deep roots in the motorcycle insurance market.

Chis Ulrich says: "GEICO has built a championship pedigree in motorsports and we have every intention of continuing its success. Our technical partners at Team Hammer have given us all the tools we need to be successful in the Daytona 200. It give us great pride to arrive at Daytona with GEICO on the side of our transporter, on our uniforms and on Martin’s bike.

"Daytona is a special place. Winning the biggest race in America would be a great accomplishment for Martin and the team. We are prepared and looking forward to the challenge. Adding incentive to do well is the fact we will have lots of folks from GEICO corporate in town and we know the eyes of the motorcycle world will be on us. We are up for the challenge and I look forward to watching Martin do what he does best."

SPEED TV will carry the Daytona 200 live, beginning at 2:30 p.m. EDT.

Ron Lieback
Ron Lieback
One of the few moto journalists based on the East Coast, Ron Lieback joined the motorcycle industry as a freelancer in 2007, and is currently Online Editor at Ultimate Motorcycling. He is also the author of "365 to Vision: Modern Writer's Guide (How to Produce More Quality Writing in Less Time).

2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Limited First Look: Updates, Specs, Photos

The 2021 Harley-Davidson CVO Limited arrives with two new paint choices, plus a couple of updates in the dash area. There’s a new LED...

MP Magic 37.5 Tech Merino Wool Socks Review (All-Season Footwear)

I’m very picky when it comes to motorcycle socks. For dirt bikes, it’s easy. I always wear Fly Racing Knee Brace socks, as they...

2021 Triumph Tiger 850 Sport Review (13 Fast Facts)

Marketing is a funny thing. Usually, manufacturers exaggerate the displacement in model names—even if only by a little bit. However, in the case of...

2021 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special First Look (5 Fast Facts)

The 2021 Harley-Davidson Street Glide Special changes this year focus on new colors and finishes. However, there are some other updates worth discussing. The...

2021 DOT Certified Helmet Performance Testing Update

We provide some deep insight into the latest 2021 DOT Certified Motorcycle Helmet performance testing, from failure rate to suggestions for regulators.

2021 Benelli TRK502 Review (15 Fast Facts for Sport-Touring)

Last month we tested the 2021 Benelli TRK502X adventure motorcycle and came away impressed. At first glance, the standard TRK502 doesn’t seem that much...