AMA Sportbike: 2009 Road America results

Cardenas extends championship lead

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jun. 08, 2009
Martin Cardenas outran Jake Zemke to win Race Two at Road America while Canadian Chris Peris earned his first AMA Daytona Sportbike victory in Race One.

Erion Honda’s Zemke led for most of the final half of Race Two before M4 Suzuki’s Cardenas forced a last lap battle that saw five lead changes. Zemke managed to gain the advantage at Turn 12 and looked to take his first Daytona Sportbike win of the season when Cardenas made one final push on the final straightaway. The Suzuki GSX-R600 out-sprinted the Honda CBR600RR as Cardenas won by 0.104 seconds, taking his sixth win of the year and fifth in six races.

“The first plan that I had was to pass him,” says Cardenas. “I tried to make a very good lap and tried to win, but under braking into Turn 5, Jake came by again. I tried to pass him again on the chicane, and he went past me on the next turn. We went side-by-side for the last half of the racetrack and it went down to the last corner. He was protecting the inside and, on that particular lap, I made a good run out of that turn and it worked out and I could win. Especially today, my bike was very fast and it helped me a lot today to win the race. Thank you to M4 Suzuki and all the team.”

Factory Aprilia rider Ben Thompson raced in a specially designed RSV1000 promoting the new Transformers movie.Cardenas has been making a habit of stealing victories on final-lap passes. The Colombian rider did the same to win both races at the May 3 Barber Motorsports round.

“I was trying to be anywhere that Martin wasn’t,” says Zemke. “I knew he was kind of sitting there and I knew I had to protect the inside on the last corner. Leading the race, you just can't go in there and leave the door wide open for somebody. Being where I was, I just had to protect the inside. Martin is real strong on the brakes, so I knew if I left that open, he’d definitely go up the inside of me. I just had to do what I had to do, and today it didn’t work out for us.”

Race One was held in the rain which contributed to several crashes and a pair of full-course cautions.

Erion Honda’s Peris took the lead on lap four and developed a large lead until the yellow warning flag came out on lap nine.

“When I saw the second pace car come out I was like ‘Oh man, I just lost the 20 seconds that I had.’ I knew it was going to be two laps once the pace car pulled on,” says Peris. “It got really, really wet and slippery so it was going to be conditions that we hadn't ridden in yet.”

Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki’s Roger Hayden took advantage of the flag to take the lead after racing resumed on Turn 5 of lap 11. Peris responded by retaking the lead on Turn seven and pulled away for his first AMA Pro Road Racing victory.

A full-course caution took away a large lead and nearly cost Chris Peris his first AMA win.“Part of it was pretty stressful, seeing what was going to happen,” says Peris. “When Rog (Hayden) came by me, I was like ‘Oh man, I’ve got to really put my head down now,’ because after leading for that long, it would have been a shame to lose. I tried to get by him as early as I could and just pulled away and was able to pull it off.”

Hayden finished second despite starting from 17th on the grid. The Kawasaki rider had to fight off a hard charging Cardenas to take second by 0.004 seconds.

“It was an interesting race for me because I didn’t do very good in qualifying,” says Hayden. “I couldn’t really see the last lap, and I knew somebody was catching me. Then Martin (Cardenas) almost passed me around the outside. Up the front straightaway, I was just trying to tuck in as tight as I could. It was fun and I’m glad to be back on the podium for the team. We’ve struggled the last couple of races. They’re working hard so this is a little reward for them.”

Hayden’s teammate Jamie Hacking had a disappointing weekend, finishing eighth in Race One and ninth in Race Two. With his two podium results, Cardenas extended his lead over Hacking in the championship standings to 51 points.

The 2009 Daytona Sportbike Championship will resume July 3-5 at Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif.

2009 AMA Daytona Sportbike top five standings
Pos. Rider Motorcycle Points
1st Martin Cardenas Suzuki GSX-R600 255
2nd Jamie Hacking Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R 204
3rd Danny Eslick Buell 1125R 199
4th Jason DiSalvo Suzuki GSX-R600 179
5th Josh Herrin Yamaha YZF-R6 152