RACE REPORT: Eslick Reclaims Top Spot on Podium and Daytona SportBike Points Lead
NEWS July 10, 2011
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
LEXINGTON, OH (July 10, 2011) – As AMA Pro Daytona SportBike Race 2 winner Danny Eslick spun up side-by-side burnouts with runner-up Tommy Aquino, the GEICO Powersports/RMR Suzuki rider was celebrating more than just his second win of the season. Today’s hard-earned victory at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course broke Eslick’s points-tie with Monster Energy Graves Yamaha rival Josh Herrin, allowing the Oklahoma pilot and 2009 class champion to reclaim the clear lead in the overall Daytona SportBike Championship.
Second-place finisher Y.E.S./Pat Clark/Graves Yamaha’s Aquino, ecstatic with his first podium result of the 2011 season, was followed across the line by JHR/RidersDiscount.com’s Cameron Beaubier, who -- as in yesterday’s Race 1 -- again turned the quickest lap of the contest. Beaubier combined those fast laps with a last-corner error by Herrin to take his second career class podium, having fought through Team Latus Motors Racing’s Jason DiSalvo and fended off Vesrah Suzuki’s Cory West and M4 Suzuki’s Race 1 winner, Dane Westby.
The race was red flagged almost immediately off the start, Santiago Villa (M4 Suzuki) and Michael Morgan (Autolite RIM Racing) both went down, triggering a ten-minute hold. Off the restart, Eslick put his head down and was quickly past DiSalvo into the lead.
“Yesterday I tried to conserve on first few laps,” Eslick said after the race, “but after looking at what Dane did [yesterday] coming from that far back, he definitely didn’t take it easy on the tire. So I just threw the hammer down from the get-go and figured, ‘If we get away, we get away. If not, protect where I can and be strong in other places.’ Josh got up there next to me a few times and even lead a lap, but I knew where he was going to make his move at the end, and I wasn’t going to make that mistake again. It was an awesome race: hot, greasy, sliding around … it was a lot of fun.”
“Everybody was riding such a face-paced race,” said Aquino, 19. “If I could have passed somebody earlier, I would have done it, but Danny was setting an incredible pace and Josh was following, so I just had to do what I had to do. I wasn’t going to get a fourth or third, so I put it in there on the second-last turn and Josh countered a little bit, but then I think he might have tucked the front a bit, and man, I was so happy when I crossed the finish line. I’ve had a number of thirds and like a thousand fourths coming into this race, so I’m really happy about it. I really had to work for it in some of the more technical passing spots, and I really have to thank all my guys. They’ve done so much for me and believed in me -- it’s incredible.”
Eighteen-year-old Beaubier, beaming throughout the post-race press conference, said, “Danny and Josh, I didn’t have anything from them, but it was an awesome race that went down to the wire. Josh made a mistake and I got by the outside of him, which was pretty cool. My mechanics did an awesome job again and gave me an awesome bike, and it’s a really good feeling. I was pushing pretty hard at the end and didn’t really know what lap we were on, but when I put my head down and went around the outside of him, it was pretty cool. Or it felt cool, at least.”
Westby led the rest of the field across the line in fourth, followed by Herrin, West, DiSalvo, Paul Allison (Triple Crown Industries), Taylor Knapp (Vesrah Suzuki), and Tyler O’Hara (GP Bike Parts Racing).
Eslick now leads Herrin in the championship standings by a 15-point margin; DiSalvo, Aquino, and West round out the top-five overall. Today’s AMA Pro Road Racing action airs tonight on SPEED at 12 a.m. EST/9 p.m. PST. For complete broadcast details, visit speedtv.com/schedule.
The AMA Pro Road Race Championship next heads to Monterey, California’s Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca for Round 7 on the season calendar, run as part of the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix MotoGP weekend. For tickets and information, visit mazdaraceway.com or call (800) 327-7322.
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