Season Finale Weekend Underway for M4 Suzuki in New Jersey
NEWS September 3, 2011
Photo by Brian J. Nelson
The opening day of action from the final round of the 2011 AMA Pro Road Racing season presented M4 Suzuki with a challenge to reacquire their front-running form following a six-week layoff leading up the New Jersey Motorsports Park finale.
Daytona SportBike race winner Dane Westby bounced back from a morning practice spill to clock the sixth best time in Friday's provisional qualifying session. The Oklahoman ran a 1:25.106 to post the highest ranking of the day for the squad.
“I didn’t really get to put in that one fast lap I wanted to today,” said Westby, “but I came here knowing I can do it here and I’m willing to put forth the effort. The bike is good and I’m looking to put it on the front row tomorrow.”
Colombian Santiago Villa was 16th best in the session aboard his Suzuki GSX-R600 SportBike racer, registering a best time of 1:27.089.
Fresh off his Moto2 experience last weekend at the Indianapolis Grand Prix, Martin Cardenas fought through a confounding day as he battled to rediscover his race-winning form at NJMP, searching for new lines that would suit his powerful GSX-R1000 Superbike after previously racing here on a 600.
The rookie Superbike race-winner ended the day in tenth albeit just a second-and-a-half removed from provisional pole at 1:22.557.
Cardenas admitted, "Since this morning, I've kind of struggled with picking my lines. I don’t know… I forgot my way around this track a little bit. I'm struggling in certain parts of the track. We've got some things to try tomorrow but I'm still not sure on an exact direction.
"This track also has some spots that are very difficult on the 1000. We're looking to get the set-up of the bike dialed in to find more rear grip. It's getting better but we have to go faster tomorrow and try to be more to the front."
Superbike teammate Chris Ulrich also had a difficult day, qualifying 18th best aboard the #18 GSX-R1000 with a quick time of 1:24.982 as he continues to come back from his Infineon Raceway injuries.
M4 Suzuki will claim their final grid positions on Saturday morning before moving onto the penultimate SportBike and Superbike races of the season in the afternoon.
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