M4 Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas bounced back from a fall in Friday’s Superpole session to win his first-ever AMA professional event in the red flag-shortened Daytona SportBike race on a warm afternoon at Road Atlanta.Cardenas, who had to start 10th after crashing and injuring his shoulder in Superpole, had taken the lead from Bruce Rossmeyer Daytona Racing/RMR’s Danny Eslick on the 15th of 20 scheduled laps. He was in front on the 18th lap when a pair of crashes that had happened simultaneously two laps earlier brought out the red flag. Scoring reverted to the end of the 16th lap and the race was declared official.”It feels great, it feels great to win, that’s why we’re here for,” Cardenas said, adding that his shoulder wasn’t a problem.Second, at a gap of .500 of a second, went to Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki’s Roger Lee Hayden in his season debut, with Eslick slipping to third.Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking, seventh today, continues to lead the championship with 83 points to 81 for Cardenas and 78 for Eslick.Fourth on the day went to hard luck case Jake Zemke of Erion Honda. Zemke had inherited the lead when M4 Suzuki’s Jason DiSalvo lost the front end and crashed in turn seven on the third lap. Then the Formula Xtreme Champion took off, building a lead of three seconds at the end of five laps and more when a full course caution was displayed on the sixth lap. That brought out the pace car, negating Zemke’s lead and bunching up the field.The re-start began at the start of the 10th lap with the field tightened up and Eslick and Zemke swapping the lead repeatedly. The lap ended with Eslick in the lead, but not for long. Zemke took it back on lap 11 before Eslick re-asserted himself on the next go-around.It wasn’t long before the lead pack grew to be eight strong and it remained that way when the red flag was thrown.Behind Zemke came Factory Aprilia Millennium Technologies’ Chaz Davies, Team Graves Yamaha’s Josh Herrin, Hacking, and Tommy Aquino on the second Graves Yamaha.
Daytona SportBike:1. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki)2. Roger Lee Hayden (Kawasaki)3. Danny Eslick (Buell)4. Jake Zemke (Honda)5. Chaz Davies (Aprilia)6. Josh Herrin (Yamaha)7. Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki)8. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha)9. Chris Peris (Honda)10. Taylor Knapp (Buell)