SONOMA, CA, MAY 13 - Jake Holden didn't let losing his sponsorship slow him down.The rider from Puyallup, Washington lost the backing of former team owner Robbie Roberson recently, but decided to continue competing in the Daytona SportBike class with help from friends both inside and out of the paddock.Riding the Jake Holden Racing Ducati 848EVO, Holden lapped the 2.32-mile rolling road course in Sonoma in 1:39.44 mins. to take the provisional pole for the Saturday and Sunday races.The 45-minute qualifying session was held in cool, sunny weather, which may have kept the times down. Tommy Aquino holds the lap record of 1:38.439 mins. from last year.
"To start, this is kind of my home track. It's the closest AMA track to Seattle, so I've always done really well here and loved the track and the fans here," he said, adding that he hadn't ridden since Daytona nine weeks ago. "A lot of other guys might've been testing and practicing a little bit. So right out of the gate we were pretty quick. I think we ended up third quickest in the first practice, or second, and then we ended up quickest here in this first qualifier."Which is, you know, it's a help to our program, because we've lost a little bit of finances from Robbie Roberson, so now the team's called Jake Holden Racing and we got a lot of sponsors and great friends that have come along and helped us out big time to make this happen. As far as our manager, Breann Poland, she's even helped us out quite a bit. We've still got DNA, Motul, Motion Pro. Vesrah helped us out. Motorsports.com's been helping us out. FMF, Cortech, Sidi, Shoei helmets. All these guys have stepped up big time. It's actually really emotional because I didn't think I was going to be able to finish out this season. I was super-excited to get back with my crew chief James Compton from the Jordan days, Corona days. We just have really good chemistry, great bike, great team. And we're going to make it. If it's race by race, so be it, but we're going to have a really fun year and being up here quickest in the session makes it all worth it."
Holden said that "a lot of our sponsors reached out to us through the press releases showing that we were struggling, which helps out big time. Everybody's asking what they can do. We've got this program set up, www.withoutegomedia.com. They set up a PayPal account and people donated from $20 to $500 in there. Friends, family, people within the paddock here even helping out, putting money into it. it helps me out. I don't have the money to keep it going, but I know I'm not going to give up and I've got people that aren't going to give up with me. So, see where it goes."As for his performance today, Holden said, "I'm super-excited. This is one of my favorite tracks, the elevation. I love the technical tracks. I won here in 2008 on a Superstock bike. I have a lot of confidence at this track and the crew I'm working with, the bike I've got, I think that we'll be running up front no matter. Which we're running against some tough, tough guys. (Danny) Eslick, (Josh) Herrin, all those guys. It's a tough pack. So I mean, just put my head down."Daytona was Holden's debut on the Ducati 848EVO, which he found a "pretty easy bike to ride. I'm not a small guy. I'm more of a Superbike rider, but...this Ducati actually has a lot of torque and it has a lot of grunt off the corners and it can carry me off some of the tighter stuff. I've ridden a 600 Suzuki in the past; I've got to say I like this Ducati a lot better."Latus Motors Racing's Jason DiSalvo originally made it two Ducatis on the front row by qualifying a close second. The Daytona winner was timed in 1:39.596 mins. on his final lap. But well after qualifying DiSalvo was disqualified for having fuel that was out of compliance.That moved Monster Energy Graves Motorsports' Josh Herrin up to second. Herrin had to serve his one race suspension in Saturday's Daytona SportBike race, it was decided on Friday morning. Herrin was originally to serve a one event suspension for rough riding at the end of the Daytona 200, but last week the penalty was reduced to one race.Geico Motorsports/Richie Morris Racing's Danny Eslick was third on the provisional front row ahead of Tommy Aquino
.Daytona SportBike Qualifying:
1. Jake Holden (Ducati) 1:39.444
2. Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 1:39.626
3. Danny Eslick (Suzuki) 1:40.183
4. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha) 1:40.323
5. Taylor Knapp (Suzuki) 1:40.475
6. P.J. Jacobsen (Ducati) 1:40.504
7. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha) 1:40.578
8. Dane Westby (Suzuki) 1:40.767
9. Cory West (Suzuki) 1:40.991
10. Tyler Odom (Honda) 1:41.772