Team M4 EMGO Suzuki opened their 2008 AMA campaign in impressive fashion on Wednesday at Daytona International Speedway, securing a front-row grid position and two second-row starting positions on the first day of the new season.
Blake Young made a strong impression in his debut performance with the team at the AMA level. The 20-year-old from Madison, WI locked down the outside of the front row for tomorrow’s 13-lap Superstock final despite suffering a fall late in his qualifying session.
The 2005 AMA Road Race Horizon Award winner posted the fourth-fastest time in the class aboard his Pirelli-shod GSX-R1000 with a quick time of 1:38.548. Young also clocked the sixth best overall time for the day (1:41.206) aboard his GSX-R600 Supersport racer to claim a second row spot for tomorrow’s 22-lap affair.
Commenting on his qualifying performance, Young said, “It went pretty well except for that last little bit there. We ended up putting the bike on the ground, which we never like to do, but we were really trying to push the envelope. The bikes and tires are really coming around. Every time we hit the track, we go faster and faster so we can’t complain.”
Young spent a considerable amount of time on Wednesday listening to advice from former 500GP Champion Kevin Schwantz. “I was talking to Kevin and trying to decipher what might be me as a rider and what might be the bike. There are not too many guys that ride both 1000s and 600s anymore. With him, I’m trying to figure out what’s the right style for the big bike and what’s the right style for Supersport and making sure you turn that switch every time you change bikes. Having him is a really big help.”
Young’s teammates, Martin Cardenas and Cory West, were also in the mix in the ultra-competitive Supersport class.
Much is expected from Cardenas in his first full season with the team and the former Spanish Supersport champion and World 250 Grand Prix competitor got off to a solid start on Wednesday. The Colombian was eighth best with a time of 1:41.464 and will start the highly anticipated Supersport final on the outside of the second row.
Team M4 EMGO Suzuki newcomer West will open his Supersport race from the inside of the fourth row, registering a best time of 1:42.462 during qualifying, good enough for thirteenth overall.
Team M4 EMGO Suzuki is also seeking to return to the podium in the prestigious Daytona 200 this weekend. Michael Barnes, who finished third in the grueling race for the squad last season, will make a special appearance aboard one of the team’s Formula Xtreme-spec GSX-R600s in Saturday’s race. He’ll be joined by Cardenas in the FX contest.
Both men got off to promising starts in the class on Wednesday, with Barnes posting the eighth best time overall (1:41.389) and Cardenas just a click back in eleventh (1:41.931).
On Thursday Team M4 EMGO Suzuki will compete in the opening races of the AMA season in Superstock and Supersport following final qualifying for the Daytona 200.