Cardenas Holds off Eslick in Thrilling Daytona SportBike Race One at Infineon

NEWS May 16, 2010

Cardenas Holds off Eslick in Thrilling Daytona SportBike Race One at Infineon

SONOMA, CA (May 15, 2010) - In his usual quiet, yet effective way, Team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki rider Martin Cardenas once again took a well-judged and hard-fought victory here today in the first of two AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL motorcycle races at Infineon Raceway.

Once again, the Daytona SportBikes showed the fans and SPEED TV viewers just how competitive this class is with another thrilling battle in the hills of Sonoma, California's 2.32-mile, eleven-turn road course.  Cardenas, a double winner here last year and also at the last race at Road Atlanta, continued his winning ways with a race-long battle with pole position winner Tommy Aquino (Team Graves Yamaha), reigning Daytona SportBike Champion Danny Eslick (Geico Powersports/RMR Suzuki) and 2010 Daytona SportBike points leader Josh Herrin. 

Also in the mix was Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha rider Dane Westby and DNR Energy Drink/CNR Motorsports Ducati man Bobby Fong.  Aquino led from pole, again in search of his first win, but the ever-present Eslick passed Aquino but couldn't get away from the tightly bunched first four riders.

Herrin, Cardenas and Westby were right together and eventually Cardenas passed Herrin and then got by Aquino and thus began a stirring battle between the aggressive Eslick and the smooth yet fast Cardenas. 

Westby and Fong were having their own private battle until Fong unfortunately suffered a fall in turn four, ending his day.  As the leaders battled amongst themselves, the many other Daytona SportBike competitors began to become factors as the fast guys sliced and diced their way through the traffic. 

More than once it seemed that disaster was imminent only to have the leaders pull through and continue their battles unabated.  Cardenas pulled a superb passing maneuver by going around the outside of Eslick going into the turn nine right/left complex.  But, Eslick is never beaten and he got back by Cardenas at the top of the circuit a couple of times with an inside move of his own. 

Cardenas never lost his cool and he repassed Danny after the two ran side-by-side through what was thought to be a one line only series of turns.  The matter was finally and unfortunately settled coming out of the last turn on the penultimate lap when a back marker just bulked Danny enough coming out of the turn, allowing Cardenas to get the slightest gap he needed to hold off the ever-charging Eslick for the win in race one of two Daytona SportBike races this weekend.

Aquino and Westby also battled all the way to the flag, followed by a traffic-delayed Josh Herrin.  Vesrah Suzuki rider Chris Fillmore was sixth and Westby's Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha teammate, Clinton Seller in seventh.  Front-row starter Steve Rapp had a slight problem at the start on his Team Latus Motors Ducati but battled back from 24th to eighth place at the finish.

Race two of the doubleheader AMA Pro Road Racing weekend at Infineon Raceway will be tomorrow and it remains to be seen if Eslick can get his first win of the season, or if Aquino can take his first Daytona SportBike win.

Visit for schedule and ticket information for the many activities during the West Coast Moto Jam here at Infineon Raceway.  Visit for live timing of all the race action.

Flag-to-flag coverage of this weekend's AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL races can be seen in same-weekend broadcasts on SPEED.  Be sure to check your local listings for broadcast times.

More from Team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki:


Team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki's Martin Cardenas scored his fourth victory of the 2010 AMA Pro Road Racing season on Saturday at Infineon Raceway with yet another brilliant display of racecraft.

Coming off his remarkable double victory at Road Atlanta, the Colombian was back in top form again today, constantly tussling for position in a thrilling race-long contest for the win.

Once again proving capable of elevating his game in race conditions, Martin was on the pace from the start despite qualifying on the second row in sixth at 1:39.214. He systematically worked his way up from fourth early to ultimately move into the lead on lap 15 of 22.

At that point the race transformed from a four-rider dogfight to a two-man duel for the checkered flag. Cardenas ultimately won out in that match up with his trademark late-race excellence.

After the race, Martin said, "This weekend we had a-not-so-good qualifying; it didn't go as planned. We had a few problems and I made a lot of mistakes but I knew we had a good bike for the race and the pace was good.

"I got a good start. In the beginning I was struggling a little bit with the grip of the bike. I don't know why. It was not great from the start so I was trying to hold onto the leading group but as the race went on it felt better and I started to try to pass them. As soon as I got to second, I was behind for a few laps and then I moved into first and he came past me right back and we switched positions a few times. But at the end I could hang on and take the win.

"It was a great race with a lot of passing and in the end it worked out for me. I hope tomorrow will be the same, and hopefully for me again, but you never know. Every race is different but I will try as hard as I can."

The win is the eleventh of Cardenas' AMA Pro Road Racing career and moves him into second place in the 2010 AMA Pro Daytona SportBike title standings, just four points removed from the lead with 133 points.

Team M4 Monster Energy Suzuki's American Superbike riders Jake Holden and Chris Ulrich picked up a pair of solid top-ten results for the squad on the day. Holden, riding in place of the injured John Hopkins, backed up his seventh-place qualifying effort (1:36.646) by finishing in that same position in the race after running in a tight pack contending for second in the race's early stages.

Ulrich, who qualified ninth at 1:37.864, improved to eighth in the race, claiming his sixth top ten in seven races this season aboard his GSX-R1000.

The Californian's consistent form sees him ranked seventh in the season's standings with 89 points towards his 2010 championship campaign.

On Sunday, Cardenas will look to complete his second consecutive double, both of the season and at Infineon Raceway, where he won both SportBike races in 2009.

More from Team Vesrah Suzuki:


Vesrah Suzuki riders Chris Fillmore and Cory West came away with top 10 finishes in Daytona Sportbike Race at Infineon Raceway after struggling in practice and qualifying trying to set up t

blog comments powered by Disqus
  • Vance and Hines