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Jake Zemke Takes Daytona 200 Pole, Rolex

NEWS March 11, 2011

Jake Zemke Takes Daytona 200 Pole, Rolex

DAYTONA BEACH, FL (March 11) – Jake Zemke, riding the all-black Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha, laid down the class' fastest lap in virtually the last possible moment of AMA Pro Daytona SportBike qualifying to capture pole for Saturday’s 70th Daytona 200 at Daytona International Speedway. His pole-winning time of 1:49.775 also earned him the coveted Rolex watch, which will be formally presented tomorrow before the 200. Team Latus Motors Racing's Jason DiSalvo took second, with GEICO/RMR Suzuki’s Danny Eslick and Team Cycle World/Attack Performance Kawasaki’s JD Beach rounding out the front row.

Zemke, Pole: “At the start of the session I just let everybody go; I just wanted to get some clear track and ride the bike a little bit. I don’t have a lot of laps on that bike so I’m not 100% comfortable with it yet. I have a little bit of the flu—been sick all week—and yesterday I didn’t really have my head around it, so today I wanted to ride my own pace, ride my own laps, find my own lines. Jason put down a pretty good lap early and I thought, 'Wow, that's going to be a hard time to beat.' But the last two laps I started to see where I was going to get a little bit of clear track, and that last lap just worked out really well. It really didn’t feel overly special, though—I thought Jason got the pole. I came around the signal area and saw my pit board, and it said .49 P1. I thought, ‘No way,’ and then there’s the agony of riding around the last cool-off lap looking at the board the whole time waiting to see who’s still out there. Luckily, it stuck. It’s pretty nice to get that watch; it’s something that I definitely wanted for a long time.

“I’ll be happy when I get 100 percent out of the bike, but I still haven’t got it yet. The bike is really good, and my guys have been working non-stop since January to get here today in March. We’re an unsponsored team with no money, so we’re pretty happy to be here right now. It’s going to pay off dividends if we can do well in the 200—hopefully that can bring us sponsorship to get us through the rest of the season.”

DiSalvo, 2nd: “I’ve had Miguel [Duhamel] to do it to me twice [take pole away on the last lap]—it’s not a new experience for me. Maybe we can win the race and I can make Danny an offer to buy his. It seems like that’s the only way I’m going to get one of those things.”

Friday afternoon’s SuperBike, XR1200 and SuperSport races: Following Daytona 200 qualifying, National Guard SuperBike, SuperSport and Vance & Hines XR1200 Series took center stage with their opening rounds.

Eslick, 3rd: Jake definitely pulled me along and got me to the third spot, but it’ll be a good place for us for the 200. The front row's always a good place to be, because there’s a whole lot of excitement up there."

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