SALT LAKE CITY (Aug. 2) – Being seventh-fastest wasn’t quite what Dane Westby had in mind during the first GoPro Daytona SportBike qualifying session on Friday afternoon at Miller Motorsports Park.
Westby, riding his GEICO Motorcycle Honda, laid down a best lap of 1:56.107 in a 21-lap run during the 50-minute qualifying session, which was good for the conditions.
“The track started off pretty slick today, especially in the morning practice,” Westby said. “There is a lot of dust blowing around out here, so it is hard to find the limit. The rear (of the bike) was sliding around a lot, so you are always wondering what is going to happen with the front. Finding out the limits of the track was the main issue.”
Westby spent the week leading up to this GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Series event training in altitude in California, and while that helped his conditioning, it didn’t help make the bike go any faster.
“The bikes are just slow,” Westby said. “Everybody is slow. It won’t even do a wheelie coming out of the corner, but for the riders it is not too bad.”
But Westby has plenty of room to make his bike quicker for Saturday’s second and final qualifying session.
“I’m taking a different line than I would like right now, so we are going to set the bike up a little differently, ” Westby said. “I am having a little trouble with the exit drive, just carrying me a little bit wide. I am V-ing up the corner more than a U-type shape, but we are going to try to adjust that because I am probably one of the only guys doing it. I’m making it work, but I would rather be like everybody else.”
If he stays seventh, the Tulsa, Okla., resident is sure he can surprise a few of his fellow competitors.
“We are experimenting with some launch control this weekend, and we will see what happens there,” Westby said. “I definitely just need to get a good start and we should be able to hang with that front group. I think it will mess with their heads a little bit just to see me at all.”
The field will be set following the final qualifying session on Saturday, which starts at 8:50 a.m. Race 1 will kick off at 1 p.m. on Saturday and Race 2 at 1 p.m. on Sunday.