MONTEREY, CA - JULY 28 - Turns out GEICO Suzuki's Martin Cardenas didn't really need many laps to earn pole position for tomorrow's AMA Pro Daytona SportBike final at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca. He got four laps in today's abbreviated session and, believe it or not, only two riders did more than that - five.
Still, Cardenas was the only one of the top men to improve their times from yesterday and it earned him pole for tomorrow's race, the Columbian lapping at 1:27.575 - over a second better than anyone else did today, but only .429 of a second better than Y.E.S. Graves Yamaha's Tommy Hayden did yesterday.
"It was a little bit crazy because we didn't have a lot of time and it got even shorter because of a red flag," Cardenas said. "We only have like three laps. I put in a very good one right before the end and it was good enough for pole. I'm feeling pretty good and the bike is working great since yesterday. I hope for a good race tomorrow."
Hayden said he only got two flying laps in today's session and three laps total in what for many was a wasted session.
"We only got a few minutes and it was kinda crazy really cause everyone was going everywhere really," Hayden said. "I never really got much of a lap in. We made a fairly big change overnight and I was trying to feel it out, but in the end it was pretty much a worthless session really. I think I did two flying laps and was behind people the whole time. I'm a little bit disappointed because I was hoping to make a little bit of improvement with the bike, but with that short of a time I'm not sure that we did or we didn't. I didn't get any useful information. But we were pretty good yesterday straight away so I think we have a good bike either way. I just hoped to make it a little better today."
Hayden's teammate Cameron Beaubier, who suffered a highside in turn 10 yesterday, ended up third - also by virtue of his best lap yesterday - and he will complete the front row with the AMA running three-rider rows (ala MotoGP) for this particular event.
"To tell you the truth, I've had a really frustrating weekend so far," Beaubier said. "Yesterday I had a pretty good highside coming out of 10 and we didn't' really get a lot of time to get a really good race setup. Today Huntley [Nash] stalled his bike going out and I bobbled a little bit getting out and I had to pass a lot of people. I think I passed like three people on my fastest lap. It was really, really frustrating so hopefully tomorrow goes better."
Row two will be led by Ducshop Ducati's Jake Zemke, the veteran suffering a crash at the end of today's session, but escaping uninjured. He will be joined there by M4 Suzuki's Dane Westby and Road Race Factory/Red Bull's Jake Gagne.
Tommy Aquino, riding a kneedraggers.com/Triple Crown Industries Yamaha R6 in a one-off race in his brief return from Europe, ended up seventh. Bobby Fong and Fernando Amantini will also sit on row three. Row four will consist of Cory West, Joey Pascarella and Australian Aaron Gobert, in his return to AMA racing on the Full Tuck Racing Yamaha R6.
1. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki) 1:27.575
2. Tommy Hayden (Yamaha) 1:28.004
3. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) 1:28.465
4. Jake Zemke (Ducati) 1:28.568
5. Dane Westby (Suzuki) 1:28.577
6. Jake Gagne (Yamaha) 1:28.710
7. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha) 1:29.050
8. Bobby Fong (Yamaha) 1:29.188
9. Fernando Amantini (Kawasaki) 1:29.491
10. Cory West (Suzuki) 1:29.725