Aquino Gets First Pole of Season

Henny Ray Abrams | September 3, 2011

MILLVILLE, NJ, SEPT 3 – Tommy Aquino (Yamaha Extended Service/Pat Clark Sports/Graves Yamaha) earned his first pole position of the year in the final race of the Daytona SportBike season at the New Jersey Motorsports Park. Aquino’s fastest lap of 1:24.526 mins. just edged out Cameron Beaubier ( Holden Racing Yamaha), the class rookie, with championship leader Danny Eslick (RME Geico Suzuki) only .006 sec. behind. Monster Energy Graves Yamaha’s Josh Herrin was fourth at 1:24.793 mins.Was this Aquino’s weekend to break through with a win, he was asked?

“We’re really hoping it is the weekend,” Aquino said. “It’s the last weekend to do it. we want to go out with a bang and show ‘em what we got. It’s been a really long time, actually, since I really felt comfortable and had like a really good chance to get pole. I remember in ’09 like I was really flowing with my bike and team and all, and just I got, I think, four poles that year and I could just lay down the fast laps. But this year we’ve tried a few different things and it hasn’t gone exactly the way we planned. We went out and figured the bike out and this weekend I’m really gelling with the bike, gelling, we’re really gelling. No, I mean, I’ve never felt better, so I’m really excited for the race. This is going to be ridiculous just looking at the time and everything.”

Eslick didn’t match his provisional pole time, but it didn’t matter. His concern was winning the championship and he was in a good position to do it later this afternoon. Eslick has a 45-point lead on Herrin and needs to finish only fourth or better to win his second DSB title.”We’re in a pretty good position to be able to get out there and hopefully stay out of the wild and crazy stuff,” provisional pole-sitter Eslick said. “Tommy, he was ripping yesterday. Actually, he got in and he towed me around to one of my good times yesterday. So I knew he was going good and they got some stuff figured out overnight. Maybe yesterday we just got lucky and got a clean lap and connected all the dots, but we didn’t get going nearly as fast as what I did yesterday. Just, no real reason to throw the thing down the road this morning for us. Race day, we don’t need to tear up a good bike and take a chance of wadding myself up. I was definitely still trying to put a good lap in. We can’t complain.”Herrin was “just looking forward to seeing the red light go away and going for it. Good to see Tommy (Aquino) up here on the pole. Kind of helps my chances for whatever I even have to win the championship this year. Helps a little bit.”Daytona SportBike Qualifying:1. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha) 1:24.526

2. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) 1:24.688

3. Danny Eslick (Suzuki) 1: 24.694

4. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 1:24.793

5. Taylor Knapp (Suzuki) 1:25.011

6. Paul Allison (Yamaha) 1:25.029

7. Dane Westby (Suzuki) 1:25.106

8. Cory West (Suzuki) 1:25.153

9. PJ Jacobsen (Ducati) 1:25.156

10. Bryce Prince (Yamaha) 1:25.386

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.