Blake Youngâ€™s debut AMA race as a member of Team M4 EMGO Suzuki was a magnificent performance as the 20-year-old earned his first career AMA podium result in Thursdayâ€™s Superstock final at Daytona International Speedway.
Young didnâ€™t wait long to prove to the field that he was a serious contender, grabbing the holeshot aboard his Pirelli-shod GSX-R1000 from the outside of the front row and leading the raceâ€™s opening six laps.
The Wisconsin native later showed his resiliency by tracking Aaron Yates down after the former class champion made a breakaway attempt. Young narrowly missed scoring his first win, pulling into Yatesâ€™ draft and posting the fastest lap of the race on the final circulation, falling a scant 0.112 seconds short of the victory at the flag.
After claiming the runner-up result and earning the bonus point paid for leading the most laps, Young said, â€œI knew if I was going to do anything to get close I needed to get into the kink and get a good drive off onto the banking and make sure I didnâ€™t spin the rear tire too much. As soon as I came out of the kink I looked up and saw that he had a lapper there to get a draft. Maybe if he wasnâ€™t there we would have had a chance.â€
He continued, â€œOur Pirelli tires were great and I canâ€™t say enough about my bike and my new crew. All the guys at M4 EMGO Suzuki worked really hard for me this weekend. It feels great. Iâ€™m glad to get my first podium out of the way and I look forward to doing it a whole lot more this season.â€
Young, along with Team M4 EMGO Suzuki teammate Martin Cardenas, also featured heavily in the afternoonâ€™s Supersport contest aboard their GSX-R600s. Young again challenged for the lead early while Colombian Cardenas held down the eighth and final spot in the leading eight-bike train.
The two came together as the race settled in, making up half of a four-rider struggle for fourth position. Young earned his second top-five of the day with his fifth-place result, taking the checkered flag just 0.053 seconds behind fourth and a similarly slim 0.055 seconds ahead of sixth-placed Cardenas.
The teamâ€™s third Supersport contender, Cory West, bounced back from an early crash suffered while running in the top ten to charge all the way up from 40th position on the fourth lap to 19th by the conclusion on the 22-lap affair.
Final qualifying for the prestigious Daytona 200 also took place at the track on Thursday. Michael Barnes, who finished third in last yearâ€™s 200, qualified on the second row aboard his Team M4 EMGO Suzuki GSX-R600, posting the dayâ€™s seventh fastest lap at 1:40.431. Cardenas qualified on the inside of the third row, clocking the ninth best time at 1:40.661.
The team will have Friday off as the Daytona Supercross takes center stage before returning to the track on Saturday for the Daytona 200.