BIRMINGHAM, Ala. (June 21) – GEICO Motorcycle Honda rider Dane Westby came away from Friday’s first qualifying session in the sixth position and with a list of tweaks for the team to make before the field is set for the first GoPro Daytona SportBike race during the Triumph SuperBike Classic at Barber Motorsports Park.
“Everything has improved since the last time we raced,” Westby said. “I feel tenfold better, but we’ve still got a little work to do on what is essentially a new bike.”
Rider and team are going to do their homework overnight to get their bike more finely tuned for Saturday’s GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Series event.
“We’re going to go back through our notes from previous years and look at our settings,” Westby said. “We’re going to see if we can make them match a little bit more. I feel like we’ve got the speed; now we just have to dial in the bike.
“I felt a little weird in the first session of the day. I feel like I’m back in the groove now.”
Westby’s best lap was in 1 minute, 29.069 seconds. Cameron Beaubier set the pace with a 1:27.609.
Westby said his bike behaves a little differently in the corners than some of the other motorcycles, which calls for its own adjustments.
“The goal for tonight is trying to find some more exit speed,” Westby said. “Our bike rolls through the corners and doesn’t make the kind of stops and starts that other bikes make in the same places on the track.
Westby added that the situation becomes challenging when he’s trying to maintain rhythm and momentum without running into the riders who are quickly slowing in front of him.
“If they’re in front of us, we’re going to have to do something about it,” Westby said. “I have to take some creative lines around these guys to set them up to pass. They say I’m pretty good on the brakes, which is important here. I’ve got to be able to create some room to go on by if somebody does something I’m not expecting.”
Westby and the GEICO Motorcycle team get another shot to improve their qualifying position at 8:50 a.m. CDT on Saturday morning. The race lines up at 1 p.m. and will be broadcast on CBS Sports Network.