Team Hammer and Joe Roberts closed out a difficult AMA Pro Road Racing weekend at Barber Motorsports Park with a 16th-place result in Sunday’s Daytona SportBike contest.
M4 SportbikeTrackGear.com Racing’s Roberts was fighting an uphill battle from the start, after an issue during qualifying forced him to start the weekend’s twin 19-lap DSB races from the 18th spot on the grid. He made impressive progress during Saturday’s race aboard his CBR600RR only to crash out of a potential top-ten performance.
The 17-year-old Californian came back on Sunday and picked up a 16th-place result. He battled with two other riders for a place in the top 15 throughout the race but came up just 0.21 seconds short in the end.
The up-and-coming star summed up his frustrating return to the scene of last year’s spectacular double-win AMA Pro debut: “Well, at least I didn’t crash today. This weekend hasn’t really gone well. We had a problem with the bike in qualifying and I only caught the last couple of minutes. So we qualified 18th.
“Saturday I caught a group fighting for a spot in the top ten but I came through Turn 12 and hit a seam and just crashed. And today, I got an okay start. I got to racing with a couple riders but that’s not where I want to be, battling back there. It’s a real bummer.
“We need track time to develop the bike and find out what’s going on. When we only get maybe 30 laps, it’s not good. The two-day schedule didn’t help in that regard. I have to go back and do some more training, and get a little more flexible. The hand hurts still, it’s not completely healed up and I tweaked my knee so that’s hurting a little bit as well.”
Roberts is optimistic that he and Team Hammer can turn their luck around when the AMA Pro Road Racing season resumes on July 11-13 at one of his favorite tracks — Laguna Seca.