DAYTONA BEACH, FL, MARCH 10 - If not for a last gasp effort by Celtic Racing/Fast By Ferracci Ducati's PJ Jacobsen, the Daytona SportBike field would have spent most of tonight scratching their heads as Latus Racing's Jason DiSalvo led the pack by almost two full seconds in the first practice session for Saturday's Daytona 200. But Jacobsen's last lap - prior to a red flag that ended the session with some three minutes to go - at least put someone within a second of the New Yorker, albeit .997 of a second.To say that DiSalvo dominated the session is almost an understatement. Riding the new Ducati 848EVO, DiSalvo led from the start and stayed there with only the Ducati of Jacobsen (pictured) getting close."I feel like a dirt tracker out there," DiSalvo said. "The thing's spinning up and it doesn't feel like it's abusing the tire. I feel like I can really ride this thing, really push on it."
DiSalvo believes he can up his pace in Friday practice and qualifying, and set a race pace faster than he went today. Of greater concern in the race will be lappers, he said."There's a lot more entries than there were last year," he said. "It's funny, because I've been watching some of the races on replay, the boradcasts and stuff, and it's like the guys kinda had it easy last year because the field was so thin. I mean, I was watching and kind of noticing the volume and the frequency of the lappers coming through traffic. I watched it two or three times and I'm like, there's no lappers. And I went back the year or two before and I watched that and I'm going, that's how it normally looks. And I got out here and saw the entry list, but back to normal I guess."The first non-Ducati rider, JD Beach, on the Cycle World/Attack Performance Kawasaki, was 1.848 seconds off DiSalvo's best and third. Then came Geico Suzuki's Danny Eslick at 1:53.406, filling the provisional front row and almost two seconds behind.Fifth fastest went to Beach's veteran teammate Eric Bostrom, the Kawasaki rider pulling double duty this weekend as he rides in both the 200 and the Superbike race. Bostrom led defending Daytona 200 Champion Josh Herrin on the Monster Energy Graves Motorsports R6.Herrin led the Ducati of Jake Holden with Yamaha-mounted Tommy Aquino and Paul Allison and Longevity Racing Ducati's Barrett Long rounding out the top 10.
Daytona SportBike Practice
1. Jason DiSalvo (Ducati) 1:51.446
2. PJ Jacobsen (Ducati) 1:52.443
3. JD Beach (Kawasaki) 1:53.294
4. Danny Eslick (Suzuki) 1:53.406
5. Eric Bostrom (Kawasaki) 1:53.409
6. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 1:53.628
7. Jake Holden (Ducati) 1:53.818
8. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha) 1:53.953
9. Paul Allison (Yamaha) 1:54.060
10. Barrett Long (Ducati) 1:54.073