DiSalvo’s Third in a Row

Henny Ray Abrams | May 15, 2009

M4 Suzuki’s Jason DiSalvo took this third Daytona SportBike Superpole in a row, adding Infineon Raceway to his poles at Road Atlanta and Barber Motorsports Park as a controversy arose over which corner would be used for the rolling start.Starting second from last, DiSalvo lapped the 2.32-mile, 12-turn road course in a time of 1:39.517, easily besting the benchmark of 1:40.081 that Chaz Davies (Factory Aprilia Millennium Technologies) had turned in just before. Then DiSalvo had to watch as fast qualifier Josh Herrin (Team Graves Yamaha) made a run at him. DiSalvo was never under threat, with Herrin slower at both of the first two splits, as well as the finish line. Still, Herrin’s second was his best Superpole performance of the year.”We kind of started off the day not super-happy with how the bike was set up and everything coming into this event,” DiSalvo said before thanking his team for the progress they made throughout morning practice. “Those guys even went as far as to put me in a new motor for Superpole there and I had no clue; they didn’t tell me until after the lap. So it was just really cool and just a big thanks to them for all the hard work.”Herrin was happy to be on the front row of the two-by-two rolling start. His previous best qualifying position was a fourth two weeks ago at Barber Motorsports Park.”It was good for me,” Herrin said. “I mean, every race we’ve been making progress in Superpole and starting to get a little bit better at it. So, hopefully the next race we’ll do better, but I mean, front row it’s not really going to get any better. There’s only two on the front row, so there really isn’t an improvement to that, really as far as starting. So I think we’re really happy with it.”Davies said that he was able to fine tune the settings on his Aprilia RSV-1000R during Thursday’s promoter practice. Further refinement on Friday morning made the heavy V-twin more flickable on the twisty Infineon road course, though he admitted it still didn’t feel like an inline four-cylinder.Team Graves Yamaha’s Tommy Aquino will start next to Davies on the second row.Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking shares the third row with Erion Honda’s Jake Zemke.The fourth row is comprised of M4 Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas and Steve Rapp on the Bazzaz Performance Yamaha.Bobby Fong, in his first Superpole appearance, was ninth on the Four Feathers Racing Yamaha after qualifying sixth. He’s joined on row five by Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki’s Roger Lee Hayden, who had a disappointing Superpole session by finishing 10th after coming eighth in qualifying.The debate over which first turn to use arose during the riders meeting. From a standing start, riders mark an almost 90 degree bus stop left  before heading up the hill through the esses. From lap two onwards, they revert to a faster, more flowing turn one that doesn’t include the bus stop. Which approach would be safer was discussed at the riders meeting, though nothing was resolved, according to the riders.At Road Atlanta, a similar debate was held about the final corner. The  faster, old turn 12, was used at the start, before the riders were routed to the much slower 90 degree right for the remainder of the race.DiSalvo said they didn’t come to a “definitive decision in the riders meeting. So I think they were planning on having us go through the bus stop, the regular turn one, that we’ve been using. But I myself think it might go cleaner if we used the old turn one. So I don’t know. I haven’t heard the final verdict on it and let me know if you hear anything.”Herrin had brought it up at the riders meeting and he said that a race official told him “that if they had another chance at Road Atlanta they wouldn’t have used that original turn, the last turn. And he said that here he would think that it would be even more dangerous, so my guess is that they were going to run the bus stop. I, like Jason [DiSalvo] said, would rather run the fast sweeper. I think that it would be safer just going through there. I think everybody’s going to go into the dirt in turn one.””I agree with these guys,” Davies began, “the start-finish line is so close to the first corner, as well. It’s like, what do you do? Do you cruise it all the way across? Because then you’re basically into the first corner. I don’t know. Probably better off running the old one, but we don’t make the decisions.”Daytona SportBike Superpole:1. Jason DiSalvo (Suzuki) 1:39.5172. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 1:39.9903. Chaz Davies (Aprilia) 1:40.0814. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha) 1:40.3385. Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki) 1:40.5226. Jake Zemke (Honda) 1:40.5517. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki) 1:40.6468. Steve Rapp (Yamaha) 1:40.6879. Bobby Fong (Yamaha) 1:41.24910. Roger Hayden (Kawasaki) 1:43.001

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.