AMA Sportbike: 2009 Road Atlanta results

Eslick takes lead in point standings

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Apr. 06, 2009
Martin Cardenas earned his first Daytona Sportbike victory in a crash shortened race one at Road Atlanta while Danny Eslick extended his lead in the standings with a win in race two.

Racing for Team M4 Suzuki, Cardenas won race one despite starting from tenth after dislocating his left shoulder in a crash during the Superpole qualifying session. The Colombian racer showed little signs that his injury bothered him by moving up to sixth by lap 3 and reaching the top five on lap ten. Cardenas continued his progression through the ranks before taking the lead from Erion Honda’s Jake Zemke on lap 15 of the scheduled 20-lap race.

Attack Kawasaki’s Roger Hayden, making his 2009 debut after missing the first few races on a personal leave, moved up to second and began to challenge Cardenas for the lead over the last few laps when a red flag on lap 18 cut the race short. Eslick finished third for Bruce Rossmeyer RMR Buell to complete the podium.

The flag was raised for a pair of crashes, one involving Destiny Yamaha racer Andres Londono and the other that sent Pur Sang Kawasaki racer Dylon Husband into the Airfence at full speed on turn 12. Both riders were examined at the medical center and later released.

“If the race wasn’t stopped, I think the last lap would have been very interesting with passes and everything,” says Cardenas. “The race was very tough, because I started from tenth and to pass here is very difficult. It worked out okay and the bike was working very good.”

With three wins in five races, critics question whether Danny Eslick's Buell 1125R has an unfair advantage over the 600s.Though the red flag robbed race one of a dramatic finish, race two made up for it .

Eslick took the lead on lap 12 from M4 Suzuki’s Jason DiSalvo and held on until the start of the final lap when Graves Yamaha’s Josh Herrin came up behind him. The two riders touched briefly as they weaved through lapped traffic. Eslick managed to hold Herrin off to win by just under half a second.

“I saw that group of lappers on the last lap and I knew he (Eslick) was going to get stuck in the chicane or something, and he did,” says Herrin. “He didn’t get a great drive off of (turn) seven, so I just tried as hard as I could and I got up next to his back tire. I knew I’d been catching him good into (turn) 10 on the brakes. I got in there pretty good and got by him. When we squared it up to come over the hill, we just had a little contact and I fell off the side of the bike. I wasn’t even going to try and get him in the last corner, because I knew I’d tuck the front or run off trying.”

There was another close battle for the third podium position. Erion Honda’s Chris Peris worked his way up from 14th on the grid to fight for third with Latus Buell’s Taylor Knapp on the final lap. Peris eventually squeezed past the finish 0.065 seconds ahead of Knapp for his first podium of the season.

“I was just trying to get past everybody for the first few laps,” says Peris. “I was trying to get past everybody where I could actually put my head down and run my own kind of pace. A couple of the guys, I think, chose the soft rear tire and they were all fading with about five laps to go. My bike seemed to hold in there pretty good. The Erion Honda was just working awesome. We made a few changes last night to get the bike to steer a little bit quicker and it all paid off today.”

The 2009 Daytona Sportbike Championship continues May 1-3 at Barber Motorsports Park with Eslick holding a 109-99 lead over Attack Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking in the rider standings.

2009 AMA Daytona Sportbike top five standings (after five races)
Pos. Rider Motorcycle Points
1st Danny Eslick Buell 1125R 109
2nd Jamie Hacking Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R 99
3rd Josh Herrin Yamaha YZF-R6 96
4th Martin Cardenas Suzuki GSX-R600 81
5th Jason DiSalvo Suzuki GSX-R600 77