ATLANTA (APRIL 18) — GEICO Suzuki rider Martin Cardenas has lots of good feelings heading into this weekend’s AMA Triumph Big Kahuna Nationals at Road Atlanta, and he’s hoping his positive outlook will produce another big outing at one of his favorites racetracks in the world.
The last time Cardenas and the AMA series visited Road Atlanta in 2010, the Team Hammer pro pulled off a double win in the ultra-competitive Daytona SportBike class, which ultimately propelled him to the championship. Now he returns having earned the pole at the season-opening Daytona 200 with a bike that can easily repeat the feat.
“I’ve liked this racetrack very much since the first time I rode here,” said Cardenas, a 29-year-old from Medellin, Colombia. “Obviously, we did as good as we could do the last time we raced here in 2010, winning both Saturday and Sunday’s races so my mind is excited when I think about racing here again.
“I enjoy the fans quite a bit in this area. They are very supportive of me and our program and you can always expect a lot of people to come and cheer us on. I am ready to race.”
Cardenas said the natural rolling terrain of Georgia and the more technical areas of the legendary 2.55-mile, 12-turn course of Road Atlanta give him a distinct advantage over many of his rivals, something he once again hopes to exploit this time through.
“There are some hard-braking corners and I believe one of my strengths is my ability to brake very late,” Cardenas said. “This is always something that can work to your favor during the course of a race.
“After Daytona we went to Homestead (Miami) to test and we found some other things we think will help us in Atlanta. Plus, I’ve been training hard at home, both in the gym and on a bike, so my conditioning is good. I think we are as prepared as possible.”
With 16 SportBike victories on his resume, Cardenas already is the most prolific rider in class history. Under this weekend’s schedule, he’ll get two chances to add to that total, with races slated for 2 p.m. Saturday and 2:15 p.m. Sunday.
“I like the weekend’s when we race twice; it gives you twice as many opportunities to win,” he said. “Plus, if you have an off day on Saturday, you only have to wait one day to redeem yourself. I love to race so I’d go every day if they would let me.”
Racing action at Road Atlanta runs from noon Friday to 5 p.m. Sunday.