MILLVILLE, NJ, SEPT 8 - Geico Suzuki's Martin Cardenas will start this weekend's Daytona Sportbike races from the pole position after early morning rains left the track too wet for anyone to approach his time.
Cardenas was one of a handful of riders not to test the changing New Jersey Motorsports Park conditions. Though the rain had stopped hours earlier, the track was still wet in several places, though the track continued to dry throughout the session. Still, most riders were about four seconds off their Friday times.
The championship leader said he sat out the session "because the Supersport practice there were a lot of crashes and I think the conditions were very tricky and there was nothing to improve, I think; it was very difficult to improve. So we decided to wait and see maybe at the final minutes we go out. The times weren't improving like yesterday, so we decided to wait and if the conditions are similar, we will try that in the race. Yeah, more risk to go out than not."
The forecast is for showers in the afternoon.
"The color of the track's a little bit tricky," Y.E.S. Graves Yamaha's Tommy Hayden said after testing the conditions. Hayden qualified second fastest on the strength of his Friday time. His Saturday time was four seconds slower. "You can't always see what's wet and what's dry. It's not real distinct. So it was a little bit tough, but luckily we had a good time from yesterday."
The rest of the front row is Hayden's teammate Cameron Beaubier and Team Latus Motors Racing's Jason DiSalvo, returning to the paddock after missing the previous round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca.
Daytona Sportbike Qualifying:
1. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki) 1:23.522
2. Tommy Hayden (Yamaha) 1:23.549
3. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) 1:23.571
4. Jason DiSalvo (Triumph) 1:23.604
5. Bobby Fong (Yamaha) 1:24.020
6. Aaron Gobert (Yamaha) 1:24.529
7. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha) 1:24.720
8. Cory West (Suzuki) 1:25.081
9. JD Beach (Yamaha) 1:25.272
10. Jake Zemke (Ducati) 1:25.347