MONTEREY, Calif. (July 25, 2010) - When the dust cleared it was Martin Cardenas and his M4 Monster Energy Suzuki that rode to his sixth and maybe best win of the 2010 AMA Pro Daytona SportBike by AMSOIL season. Certainly for Cardenas, winning today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca had special meaning but it is the way that he won that also made for another thrilling day of racing in this competitive series.
-- TV broadcast will be late tonight (Sunday) at 12 a.m. midnight ET (9 p.m. PT) on SPEED --
After starting eighth, the irrepressible Steve Rapp and his small but effective Team Latus Motors Ducati team took yet another podium finish with a very determined second place. Finishing third was Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha rider Clinton Seller, who mixed it up with the front runners from the very drop of the flag and in the process posted his best finish of the season.
These results alone don't tell the story of the race and it was DNA Energy Drink Ducati rider Bobby Fong that really put on an impressive show. Fong fought his way quickly to the front passing Pole sitter Tommy Aquino before the end of lap one basically set sail, at one point building a lead of over two seconds on the usually close Daytona SportBike field. And close it was behind Fong with at least five riders grouped together battling for every inch on the 11 turn flowing 2.238-mile natural road course.
Aquino and his Team Graves Yamaha teammate Josh Herrin were in the mix as was Seller and also Danny Eslick who actually grabbed second and led the six bike train for a while. Eslick, Herrin, Seller, Aquino, Cardenas and Rapp all made up this group but as the race went on Eslick dropped back and Cardenas started his march to the front. Try as he might, Herrin could not shake off Seller, Aquino and Cardenas. Rapp fell back a little and battled with Eslick.
On lap eleven, things started to happen, Cardenas passed Aquino and in the famous corkscrew at the top of the circuit, Josh Herrin ran off the track and did a great job staying upright as he rejoined but now back in seventh. At the end of this lap, Cardenas made a solid pass on Seller at the last turn and set sail for Fong.
"Bobby was two or three seconds clear and I was a little bit worried because I saw that Herrin wasn't gaining on him," said Cardenas. "I thought maybe today the best finish was going to be second but I pushed very hard for two or three laps and I caught him."
At that point Fong caught some slower riders and Cardenas was able to get right up to him quicker than even he expected, "I caught him and stayed with him and unfortunately for him, he lost the front under braking. From then on it became a little bit difficult to maintain concentration but I was able to break through here and win," said a pleased Martin after the race.
Winning here at Laguna Seca is special for the Suzuki rider, "I always wanted to win here, ever since I first came here in 2007, it is my favorite track but for some reason, I was always fast but like last year, when I had pole, I crashed. Fortunately for me this time I could do it, I am very happy."
Bobby Fong had his mishap on lap 15 and even thought he quickly picked up his Ducati and rejoined, there was too much damage to continue and he retired. Since Road America, Fong has been riding well and he is now another part of the mix at the front of the field. Meanwhile, it looked like Tommy Aquino was going to lead Seller home for the other two podium spots but on lap 21 of 23, Steve Rapp pulled a double pass and went from fourth to second in one move in turn two.
Seller tried to fight back at turn eleven but Rapp's Ducati was running better and better and he was able to pull away and take his fifth podium finish and his third second place finish of the season. A win can't be far behind for him and Team Latus Motors Ducati Racing.
Seller took a nice third in his best finish of the season, his best previous finish was fourth at race one at Road America. "I look forward to trying to be up here from now on," Seller said as he came off the podium.
Aquino was disappointed in fourth but he continues to ride well and his day will come. Eslick was OK with his fifth. "It wasn't our best day for the GEICO Powersports Suzuki, but I'll take fifth and let's move on," said Danny.
Herrin took a subdued sixth and maintains the points lead by one point over Eslick, (264 - 263) with Martin closing with 252.
Cory West and Chris Fillmore took seventh and eighth on their Vesrah Suzuki's and Michael Beck did post a result for the DNA Energy Drink Ducati team in ninth. Fernando Amantini took another good result with tenth on his Kawasaki, following up from his ninth place finish last week at Mid-Ohio.
The racing was again close and exciting throughout the field and the Daytona SportBike riders put on a great show for the assembled teams from the MotoGP World Championship. The AMA Pro Daytona SportBike by AMSOIL championship chase resumes August 13-15 at Virgina International Raceway in Alton, Va. Please visit www.amaproracing.com for complete results.