Saturday Road Atlanta Daytona Sportbike Recap

BRASELTON, Ga. - This year's AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL action could not have been more exciting and competitive. With two winners in three races and one more rider who could have, or should have, won a race or two himself, today's first of two weekend AMA Pro Daytona SportBike races was another chapter in what has been a series of races that just keep on delivering one wild and crazy race after another!

After a rocking early morning qualifying session where any number of riders topped the time sheets, it was Friday's pole sitter Tommy Aquino on his Team Graves Yamaha that reclaimed the top spot when it looked like he would be beaten by his own Team Graves Yamaha teammate Josh Herrin and also Daytona pole position winner and reigning AMA Pro Daytona SportBike champion Danny Eslick on his bright yellow GEICO Powersports Suzuki and also M4 Monster Energy Suzuki rider Martin Cardenas. Aquino came through at the end of qualifying and he looked very strong for the race.

Under bright blue skies and warm temperatures, the standing start went off without a hitch and it was Cardenas who led the field into the uphill turn one. Aquino was in second, Herrin third, a strong starting Cory West, riding his Vesrah Suzuki was up to fourth ahead of Eslick, who was already starting his usual charge to the front.

It didn't take long for the action to start as Herrin moved up and passed Cardenas and Aquino in one move and as the front six broke away from the rest of the field, Eslick jumped up to first on lap three. These three now put on their usual show with pass after pass lap after lap, this after it was thought there weren't too many places to pass on the challenging and scenic Road Atlanta track. That theory was completely put to rest as the riders continuously made major passing moves at the top of the track at turns six and seven and also at the run down into the turn ten complex.

The man on the move in this race was West, who worked his way past Cardenas, Herrin and was all over Eslick, each passing the other and West really riding hard each and every lap. Herrin, indicative of just how hard everyone was running, just slid wide at the final turn and found himself in the gravel but in an excellent move kept his bike moving and was able to escape the gravel and rejoin the race, unfortunately back from the lead group.

Aquino was still part of the mix and Dane Westby, riding for local team Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha, also took a turn leading the race. At one point, Eslick got slowed by another of the many passing moves into and out of the turn ten complex that leads up to the bridge turn coming down the hill onto the front straight and it looked as if it was now between West and Cardenas.

Cardenas was able get by West on the penultimate lap and he rode very hard to make sure no one could pass him at turn ten. West tried as hard as he could, backing up the good form he really has shown all year by finishing second, followed by Eslick, who had a light touch with Aquino on the front straight with two laps left. Westby took fourth ahead of Aquino with Steve Rapp on his Team Latus Motors Racing Ducati who, while well back from the lead group, had a good race with Clinton Seller on the other Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha who finished just behind Rapp.

Herrin was a disappointed eighth, followed by Chris Fillmore on the second Vesrah Suzuki in ninth, rounding out a good day for the Vesrah Team. Taking tenth place was local Georgia rider Geoff May who, on his own team's GMR Suzuki, ran a strong race at his home track in front of friends and family.

Another rider who showed extreme courage and heart was Alex Lazo who, on his Yamaha, rode today's race with a broken left foot. It's his second year in AMA Pro competition and he soldered through to take a worthy twenty-third place.

Race two of the double header Suzuki SuperBike Showdown at Road Atlanta will be tomorrow and if the first four races are anything to go by, it will be another chapter of must see AMA Pro Road Racing motorcycle competition.

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AMA Pro Road Racing, 2010

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