BRASELTON, GA, APRIL 17: Team Graves Yamaha’s Tommy Aquino used the fastest ever Daytona SportBike lap to take his first pole position in qualifying on a cool morning at Road Atlanta.The Georgian wasn’t a factor in the 50-minute session until the very end. After watching others set the pace, Aquino dialed up his speed to turn in a succession of increasingly faster laps, the last of which put him on the pole for the two Daytona SportBike races.”I was pretty stoked when I came in; actually, I was extremely happy,” Aquino said after his lap of 1:28.804 mins. “I didn’t even know Martin (Cardenas) put down that 29.1, but I mean, all I knew was there was a 29.3 on the board and I was second. And I was like, aaah. So I went out there and turned a little bit of rage into a fast lap. I was really happy when I came in.’Aquino explained that he went out on used tires for the early part of the session. That left him in the 1:31’s and then the 1:30’s. A pit stop for a small set-up change put him down into the 29’s.By then he’d seen that Geico Powersports/RMR Suzuki’s Danny Eslick was in the 29’s, soon to be joined by Aquino’s teammate, Josh Herrin, who he said, “really dipped down into the 29’s.” With 12 minutes to go Aquino went out on a fresh rear Dunlop and laid down a series of progressively quicker laps. His penultimate lap was a 1:29.060, “and I was like super-pumped and I just decided to go for one more lap and it was the best lap I’ve ever done around here,” he said.M4 Monster Energy Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas was second at a gap of over three-tenths (1:29.119 mins). Aquino was next at 1:29.334 mins., just .32 secs. faster than Latus Racing Ducati’s Steve Rapp.Results:1. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha) 1:28.8042. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki) 1:29.1193. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 1:29.3334. Steve Rapp (Ducati) 1:29.3675. Cory West (Suzuki) 1:29.5316. Danny Eslick (Suzuki) 1:29.6887. Clinton Seller (Yamaha) 1:29.8168. Bobby Fong (Ducati) 1:30.0009. Chris Fillmore (Suzuki) 1:30.24510. Dane Westby (Yamaha) 1:30.295
Aquino Gets His First
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.