TOOELE, Utah (May 25) – Martin Cardenas made a bold move for the lead with just three corners left in Sunday’s GoPro AMA Daytona SportBike race at Miller Motorsports Park’s BigM Weekend and then held off Jason DiSalvo to pick up his fourth victory of the season.
Cardenas said DiSalvo was a tough rider to contend with all afternoon.
“At first it was DiSalvo and me up front and Beaut (Cameron Beaubier),” Cardenas said. “We were all packed up in front. Jason DiSalvo put his head down and got past me to the lead, about three seconds ahead of me. I realized I needed to start pushing as hard as I could and catch up to DiSalvo but he was very fast.
“I gave 100 percent to try and stay with him.”
The two riders spent most of the race playing cat and mouse. DiSalvo would stretch his lead then Cardenas would reel him back in. Lap after lap, the two riders’ times were rarely separated by more than a tenth of a second or two.
With the 16 lap event winding down, Cardenas knew he needed to be aggressive if he was to get around DiSalvo.
“During the last two laps we were battling back and forth for the lead,” said Cardenas whose margin of victory was .101 seconds. “Some of my maneuvers did not work out trying to get around DiSalvo, so I thought that that was the end.
“We caught up to lappers towards the end, DiSalvo was faster but I got a very good drive on the last lap, we went side to side and on the next corner I broke past DiSalvo for the win. The plan worked out but it was not the original plan.”
The win is a big boost toward Cardenas’ goal of winning the Daytona SportBike title because the championship’s second-place rider, Tommy Hayden, finished ninth Sunday and fell to 31 points behind Cardenas.
Earlier in the day, Cardenas wrapped up his third No. 1 qualifier of the year.
“The track was pretty wet but it was nice not having the wind factor today,” he said. “I treated this qualifying today as more of a practice, to loosen up and get ready for my main race.”
Cardenas and the GEICO Suzuki team will get two chances next weekend to claim victory at the June 1-3 Subway SuperBike Doubleheader at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wis