BRASELTON, GA, APR 22 - Geico Suzuki's Martin Cardenas took a commanding championship lead with his second win in as many days at the Road Atlanta road course.
While Saturday's race was a runaway, today Cardenas had company. Y.E.S. Graves Yamaha's Tommy Hayden stuck with him from the start and Team Latus Motors Racing's Jason DiSalvo was at the back of the trio until striking mechanical problems for the second day in a row. Yesterday DiSalvo suffered a clutch failure, today's problem, which came just past the halfway point, has yet to be determined.
With DiSalvo out of the race it was a two-rider showdown. Whomever was in third place, and it changed hands from time to time, was lapping over a second slower than the leaders.
Cardenas was well in control, but he couldn't shake Hayden. Neither could Hayden make a serious move for the lead. The Colombian never gave him the opening and Hayden never barged his way past.
The race should have come down to the last lap, but it didn't. Just over a lap from the finish Hayden caught a backmarker in the all-important Turns 10A-10B transition. Cardenas, who'd led the previous lap by .194 sec., now had over half a second's edge.
Without the benefit of a tow, Hayden couldn't mount a challenge and Cardenas sped to victory by 1.22 sec.
The win was his class-leading 18th all-time and his fifth doubleheader sweep. Cardenas also swept both races in 2010, the last time the AMA visited Road Atlanta. His most recent double came at the Barber Motorsports Park race in September of 2010.
M4 Broaster Chicken Suzuki's Dane Westby was again third, today at a gap of 16.631 secs. And he had to hold off a furious charge from Ducshop Racing's Jake Zemke, who missed out on the podium by a scant .040 sec.
Cardenas leads the championship with 82 points, 20 more than Westby and 22 more than Hayden.
AMA Pro Road Race Daytona Sportbike Results:
1. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki)
2. Tommy Hayden (Yamaha)
3. Dane Westby (Suzuki)
4. Jake Zemke (Ducati)
5. Jake Gagne (Yamaha)
6. Bobby Fong (Yamaha)
7. J.D. Beach (Yamaha)
8. Huntley Nash (Yamaha)
9. Benny Solis (Suzuki)
10. Joey Pascarella (Yamaha)