HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Sept. 20) — Even though GEICO Suzuki rider Martin Cardenas can clinch the 2012 GoPro Daytona SportBike championship at this weekend’s Triumph Big Kahuna Miami, it’s business as usual in the Team Hammer pit as the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing tour arrives in South Florida.
With a class-leading seven victories and 11 podium finishes on his resume, Cardenas has a huge 76-point margin in the standings, but the 2010 class champion isn’t celebrating anything just yet. With four individual races left on the schedule, including two this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the 29-year-old Colombian knows anything can happen.
“I have to focus on the normal routine and just racing as we have been all year,” Cardenas said. “We want to qualify well and get a front row position on the grid, if possible, and then we need to go out and race like it’s a normal race.
“Knowing what is at stake will not change anything. Perhaps I will be more cautious at times but if a chance to make a move opens up, then I will try to win each race. The best thing would be to get out front and lead the whole way. Then it doesn’t matter what happens behind me.”
Only three other riders are mathematically alive in the title chase at this point. Dane Westby has the best chance, 76 points back. Cameron Beaubier (-108 points) and Tommy Hayden (-122) also have a chance. The maximum points a rider can earn in the final four races is 126.
“Of course, we all know the championship is within reach,” Cardenas said. “The excitement is there for many of our friends and family members. I am staying the same for now. My excitement will come at the appropriate time.”
Racing starts with a practice session at noon, Friday, followed by the first qualifying session at 3 p.m. Qualifying resumes with a second and final session at 8:50 a.m., Saturday, which will set the field for both races. Race 1 takes place at 2 p.m., Saturday, with Race 2 slated for 2:15 p.m., Sunday. SPEED TV will carry all the action.