AMA Sportbike: 2009 Mid-Ohio results

Eslick returns to the podium with pair of wins

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jul. 20, 2009
Buell’s new AMA American Superbike entry, the 1125RR was the story leading up to the Mid-Ohio round but it was the 1125R that made headlines in Daytona Sportbike.

RMR Buell’s Danny Eslick returned to the top of the podium with a pair of wins July 18-19 at Mid-Ohio Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. The wins were Eslick’s fourth and fifth of the year and first since a mid-season change to the Buell 1125R’s minimum weight regulations.

Eslick took pole position after the basic and Superpole qualifying sessions were called off due to rain. Eslick took advantage of his prime position by building a half-second lead after the first lap over Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking.

Hacking would eat into Eslick’s lead over the next few laps before moving ahead at turn six on lap seven. Hacking held the lead for two more laps before being sidelined by mechanical problems.

Danny Eslick returns to the top of the podium with his first time since April 5.

“I got a good start, right off the bat and led a couple of laps,” says Eslick. “I didn’t see anybody coming through, which usually happens as everybody’s really aggressive the first few laps. I knew we had kind of pulled away and then Jamie came by. I think I was on the brakes the first time and he came up. He came by me and we battled back and forth for a lap or two and when he had his problem, I almost ran up his exhaust pipe. He did a good job getting his hand up and out of the way, so good job there. It could have been real ugly in that spot.”

Eslick would win by over two seconds ahead of Graves Yamaha teammates Josh Herrin and Tommy Aquino who had their own duel going on the entire race. The two riders traded places several times throughout the race with Herrin getting the final advantage, finishing 0.047 seconds ahead of Aquino. The key point of the battle came on lap ten when Herrin used a block pass to move ahead of both Aquino and Erion Honda’s Jake Zemke to move into second.

“I think when (Tommy) passed me, he went to put a move on Jake going into (Turn) 5 on the brakes and I just decided I am going to get both these guys and just dove in there and made a move,” says Herrin. “It wasn’t purposefully a block pass, but it sort of ended up being a block pass. I just rode defensive from there and luckily we held on to second.”

Aqunio’s third-place result was his first AMA Pro Racing podium finish.

“It was really hard,” says Aquino. “I was going as hard as I could, my tires were spent and I was just trying as hard as I could to stay where I was at and try to take a position if I could. I am really happy with this podium.”

Jamie Hacking rebounded from a first-race disappointment to finish second in Race Two.In Race Two, Hacking’s Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R avoided the problems from the first race to battle for the lead with Eslick. The two riders had six official lead changes during the 21-lap race, with the first coming on turn six of the first lap as Hacking moved past Eslick.

On the final lap, Eslick attempted a pass on turn six but could not get past Hacking. The two riders proceeded through “the Esses” with their bikes leaning against one another. Eslick came out of the Esses with the lead. He would finish two seconds ahead of Hacking.

“The race today was great,” says Hacking. “We were pushing hard the entire race. I was stronger on this side of the race track and Danny was stronger back there in the back and it just made out for a really good race, close racing. I put everything I had into the last couple laps there and I thought I had the door closed enough. He muscled his way in there and made a clean pass. I had made that pass before and there were no hard feelings. He rode a great race, and we pulled away from everybody else this weekend.”

Eslick’s two wins vault him past hacking into second place in the standings with 275 points. Eslick trails M4 Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas by ten points. Cardenas recovered from a crash to finish 12th in Race One, before finishing third in Race Two to maintain his lead.

“It was a hard race for me because my confidence wasn’t very good after two races, two crashes,” says Cardenas. “So today that was the best I could do. These guys were a little bit faster than me, and I tried to stay with them, but five laps from the end I made a mistake and almost crashed and so I decided that third place was good enough for today.”

The 2009 AMA Daytona Sportbike season continues July 31-Aug. 2 at Heartland Park Topeka in Topeka, Kans.

2009 AMA Daytona Sportbike top five standings
Pos. Rider Motorcycle Points
1st Martin Cardenas Suzuki GSX-R600 285
2nd Danny Eslick Buell 1125R 275
3rd Jamie Hacking Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R 244
4th Josh Herrin Yamaha YZF-R6 211
5th Jason DiSalvo Suzuki GSX-R600 201