AMA Pro Road America Race Report, Daytona SportBike Race 1

NEWS June 4, 2011


AMA Pro Road America Race Report, Daytona SportBike Race 1

Photo by Brian J. Nelson

ELKHART LAKE, WI (June 4, 2011) - AMA Pro Daytona SportBike’s Race 1 lost one of the class’ most dominant riders early in today’s contest, kicking off an unusual three-way battle for the lead that stretched nearly from start to finish—a contest that came within a single lap of crowning an all-new class winner.

Team Latus Motors Racing’s Jason DiSalvo started the race from his third consecutive pole position, grabbing the holeshot and leading PJ Jacobsen (Celtic Racing/Fast by Ferracci) and Josh Herrin (Monster Energy Graves Yamaha) into the first turn. Herrin and Jacobsen immediately began dicing for position, Herrin pulling up beside the younger rider before diving into a solid second. Behind them, Cameron Beaubier (GP Bike Parts Racing), Dane Westby (M4 Suzuki), Cory West (Vesrah Suzuki), Tommy Aquino (Y.E.S./Pat Clark/Graves Yamaha), and Danny Eslick (GEICO Powersports/RMR Suzuki) rode nearly atop each other while vying for fourth, with two more riders riding hard just behind.

Shortly after the field started Lap 2, however, DiSalvo—by that point a few tenths ahead of Herrin—crashed out of the lead, leaving Herrin to contend with the two youngsters behind him, both new to the Daytona SportBike class this year. While the battle for fourth continued to fan out three- and occasionally four-wide at times, and while Jake Holden crashed out of ninth position, the lead trio maintained, none of them seeming able or willing to advance on the rider in front.

Suddenly, Jacobsen took over the lead, sandwiching Herrin between himself and Beaubier, who likewise seemed to be eyeing the far more veteran rider. As Herrin continuously tested Jacobsen, frequently running up alongside him on the front and back straights (once briefly taking over the lead), Beaubier stayed stuck to Herrin’s rear wheel. The GP Bike Parts rider made his intentions clear by pulling up alongside Herrin then sliding into the overall lead, but then immediately went wide, quickly being relegated back to second by Jacobsen, then to third by Herrin a few turns later.

As Herrin continued to put pressure on Jacobsen, Beaubier flexed his newfound speed a few more times, retaking second briefly and making another attempt at the lead. The second pack had by now seemed to loosely agree to set out after the lead trio, however, and the dicing inspired at the front by Beaubier allowed them to begin to gain ground.

With three laps to go, the lead trio maintained their running order while West, Eslick, and Aquino all took their turns at the head of the second group. Up front, Jacobsen and Herrin, the former riding the wheels off his Ducati to try to shake the Yamaha rider, began to leave Beaubier behind. As the lead pair spun out an increasing gap on Beaubier, it became clear the latter was in serious danger of being sucked into the group charging up the track behind them.

As the leaders approached the white flag, a game changer was delivered in the form of a lapped rider. While Herrin negotiated the situation perfectly, Jacobsen was shuffled back in the chase group and Beaubier sucked in almost entirely, the group suddenly spreading five wide and spitting West out as its new leader. Herrin, meanwhile, had netted some breathing room for the final lap and crossed the line .749 ahead of second-place West, Jacobsen hanging on for third. Eslick, Aquino, Taylor Knapp, Beaubier, Westby, Jason Farrell, and Fernando Amantini rounded out the top ten, the field treating fans to a four-rider-wide wheelie show.

DiSalvo’s DNF and Herrin’s win have tightened the points race considerably. At press time, provisional points standings had DiSalvo at 110 followed by West (99) and Herrin (97).

Today’s races will be aired on SPEED at 9 and 10 p.m. EST/6 and 7 p.m. PST. For detailed results, visit http://results.amaproracing.com/. To learn more and be a part of AMA Pro Racing, please visit www.amaproracing.com and join us on facebook.com/AMAProRoadRacing, twitter.com/AMAProSBK, and twitter.com/AMAProLIVE.

Josh Herrin, 1st: “Luckily [DiSalvo] had a couple tenths on me, so I didn’t get tangled up with him. I think Cameron was pretty excited to be up there—he’s new to the series and just wants to get out in the lead—but it kind of hurt me and PJ a little bit; we were definitely losing time when he’d get out in front of us, and then burning our tires trying to get back past him. [In the final laps] I thought PJ was right behind me, but I put my head down and rode as hard as I could on the last lap and didn’t hear anyone behind me in the last corner. I’m sure tomorrow will be a different story, especially with DiSalvo up there.”

“It sucks to see someone fall, but when you know they’re okay and you realize you just got a bunch of points you desperately needed, it’s kind of a big relief.”

Cory West, 2nd: “After the halfway flag I could kind of see we were gaining on [the lead group]. But it was tough—Danny and Tommy were pushing me hard. We started dicing it up … and every time someone got to the front, we were like, ‘Okay, let’s get those guys!’ We slowly started reeling the leaders in … they were dicing pretty hard, which helped us catch up. Coming to the white flag, I knew for sure we’d catch Cameron, and then the lapper helped me catch PJ. I might have had something for [Josh] with one more lap. It was a good race. I’m glad to get second and start getting some points in this championship.”

PJ Jacobsen, 3rd: “It was great. Josh was running great, so I just tried to push, same thing as at Miller; tried to get out front and stay out there. That last lap, it kind of sucked for me, but that’s racing. We’ll just try to go out there and get him tomorrow. We’ll definitely be up there again, it’s going to be a good battle between all of us, so I’m looking forward to it. [Leading] felt pretty good, I just knew I had to be calm and stay calm the whole time. I just kept working and working, and unfortunately the last lap I just lost all that ground, so we’ll come back strong tomorrow.”

For Road America ticket and event information, visit www.roadamerica.com or call (800) 365-RACE.


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