Cardenas Earns His First AMA Pro SuperBike Podium For M4 Suzuki in Thrilling Finish
NEWS May 15, 2011
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
M4 Suzuki's sensational Martin Cardenas claimed his first career AMA Superbike podium finish today at Infineon Raceway.
The reigning AMA Pro Daytona SportBike champion put his obvious talent on display on Saturday in Sonoma. After getting a less than an ideal start off the line, the Colombian pounced on three rivals in three successive laps entering the hard-braking Turn 9 hard, slotting himself into fourth position in short order.
On lap 9 of 22 Cardenas moved through into third and spent the remainder of the contest fending off heavy pressure for the final spot on the podium.
The dogfight came down to the final lap where the calculating Cardenas held kept his cool through heavy traffic and powered across the stripe just 0.068 seconds in front of his rival.
Cardenas' third-place result in just the third race of the '11 season has quickly established the class newcomer among the Superbike elite.
"At the beginning of the race, I didn't make a good start and lost quite a few positions," Cardenas explained. "I worked my way up and the pressure was on all the way to the end. Luckily, I was able to hold the position and end up on the podium."
Commenting on his rapid progress as a Superbike pilot, Martin said, "Since I rode the bike for the first time the team has worked very hard to try to adjust the bike to my riding style. Also, I have tried to change some of the things in the way I ride because you have to ride these bikes a little bit differently than a 600. It's been good. Every time that I get on the bike I get a little more comfortable. At the Miller test we figured something out that is working really good and it's helped me to go a little bit faster. I tried the maximum I could in today's race and got on the podium. I must thank to the team for their support."
Chris Ulrich made it two M4 Suzukis in the Superbike top ten on Saturday, guiding his GSX-R1000 to a tenth-place finish.
The M4 Suzuki Daytona SportBike contenders had a tougher go on Saturday. Dane Westby's challenge evaporated before it ever really took shape as his machine limped off the line at the green light with a clutch issue. He immediately retreated to pit lane before returning to the race a lap down on his spare bike. He was ultimately credited in 24th position.
“I was being real aggressive on the clutch,” said Westby. “I guess I left it at the point of friction too long and that’s what did it. We’re looking forward to racing again tomorrow. I was so ready to ride that it was my fault.”
Earlier in the weekend, Westby and the team took the initiative to meet with Josh Herrin and his squad after the last-lap crash at Daytona. Any differences were patched over and everyone has agreed to move forward.
After showing promising pace on Friday, Santiago Villa crashed from 12th position a handful of laps into the contest. He finished in 22nd position.
M4 Suzuki will return to Infineon Raceway on Sunday for the second half of the weekend doubleheader.
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