Roberts Marches Forward in his First DAYTONA 200
NEWS March 19, 2014
Photo by Brian J Nelson
Courtesy of Team Hammer:
March 19, 2014 - Team Hammer did well on Saturday, the final day of the 2014 AMA Pro Road Racing season opener at Daytona International Speedway.
All three of the team's Daytona SportBike riders finished better than they qualified for the 73rd running of the Daytona 200.
GEICO Motorcycle Racing’s Jake Zemke (the 2006 Daytona 200 winner) rode an error-free race, steadily working his way forward in the 57-lap race and finishing eighth after starting 15th on his Honda CBR600RR.
Meanwhile, M4 SportbikeTrackGear.com Racing's Joe Roberts continued his meteoric rise. The 16-year-old young gun avoided making any rookie mistakes in what can prove to be a treacherous event.
Roberts continually improved his speed aboard his Honda CBR600RR, just as he had done from the start of practice. After qualifying 18th, Roberts fought his way up through the field and laid down his best time on the the final lap, his 1:52.808 coming within 0.097-second of earning a spot in the top 10.
Roberts, who finished 11th in what was both his Daytona SportBike and Daytona 200 debut, said, "We almost got a top 10. I was actually in 10th after my second pit stop, which was cool. We struggled some all weekend and never quite found the set-up we wanted. I was just trying to get the best position I could."
MPH Racing's Melissa Paris, who finished in the top 10 in last year's Daytona 200, encountered a problem when a wheel spacer fell out during her final scheduled pit stop, which forced her to make another pit stop. Unfortunately, she crashed out a handful of laps later and was credited with 27th place aboard her Team Hammer Contract Services-prepared Honda CBR600RR.
Earlier in the day, GEICO Motorcycle Racing's Chris Ulrich earned a top-10 finish in the day's AMA Pro Superbike race. The Californian improved upon his 13th-place result in Friday's season opener, finishing 10th in Saturday's 15-lap Superbike race on his CBR1000RR.
Team Hammer will now set its sights on the upcoming three-round Superbike Shootout. First up will be a stop at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California on April 26-27 for an event held in conjunction with Fastrack Riders and WERA Motorcycle Roadracing. That will be immediately followed by the second Superbike Shootout with AFM at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, California May 3-4. The Superbike Shootout will then conclude with UtahSBA at Miller Motorsports Park in Tooele, Utah May 24-25.
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