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Martin Cardenas qualified fifth fastest for tomorrow's 23-lap AMA Pro Superbike contest at Laguna Seca with a fast lap of 1:25.462.
The M4 Suzuki ace continued to grow more comfortable aboard his powerful Superbike-spec racebike around the undulating Northern Californian circuit and was once again the mix near the top of the order.
With this weekend's unique grid slotting due to the combined AMA/MotoGP World Championship event, Cardenas' fifth-place qualifying position means he will open the race from the middle of the second row.
The reigning Daytona SportBike champion remarked, "We were unable to get on the first row which was my goal. But the times are very close. I'm going to talk with my crew and try to figure out what we can change to improve a little bit more. I think for the race we are in very good shape. I expect five or six guys in the front group. It looks like it's going to be another tight race."
Cardenas spent the day mastering the trickier aspects of the circuit, including the fast Turn 1 that gave him problems on Friday.
"I'm getting better and better," he said. "It was okay today. I feel much more confident."
Dane Westby qualified eighth for Sunday's SportBike contest -- the same ranking he had prior to his Mid-Ohio victory.
However, he suffered more than Cardenas due to the altered grids, as what would have been the outside of Row 2 is the middle of Row 3 this weekend.
The Mid-Ohio winner posted a fast time of 1:29.516 during the day's SportBike qualifying sessions.
The recovering Chris Ulrich was 16th fastest in Superbike qualifying. The Californian's best lap was a 1:27.917 around the physical and unforgiving circuit that he won a 750 Supersport race on in 2001. Ulrich is ten weeks removed from lumbar vertebrae fractures suffered at Infineon Raceway.
M4 Suzuki will round out the high-profile U.S. Grand Prix weekend on Sunday with the 23-lap Superbike and SportBike races.
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