FONTANA, CA, MAR. 26 - Geico Powersports/RMR Suzuki's Danny Eslick got things rolling at Auto Club Speedway this afternoon by posting the quickest time of the first Daytona SportBike qualifying session on a sunny day in Southern California.Eslick led a tightly knit group of seven riders with just .996 of a second separating him from seventh-fastest Cory West after the Oklahoman posted a 1:27.164 on his Suzuki GSX-R600. Eslick said the key to a quick lap at Auto Club Speedway is to get through turn one quickly. And he did."It was pretty uneventful," Eslick explained after earning provisional pole. "I just out with the medium tire and did some laps and got loosened up and got going. I didn't get hooked up with anybody and then we came in a threw a soft tire at it and got some clear track and hammered down and just really nailed my laps. I got through turn one about as close to perfect as I think I can get through there two laps in a row and put a good clean lap together. That's what it took, I guess. Turn one is super fast and you change directions real quick. If you do it right and connect the dots, you can get through there on the gas pretty hard."Last year Eslick did the double here on his Buell and that helped set him up for what would be a run to the title."Two more wins this weekend would be good," Eslick said. "Doing the double again would be really awesome for the whole Geico Powersports team. It's good. Right now I'm sitting on provisional pole and we should be pretty solid unless somebody really throws in a flier in the morning. It'd be nice to start from pole twice in a row."Graves Motorsports' Josh Herrin was second today, just .091 of a second off Eslick's best with the Daytona 200 winner lapping at 1:27.255. And Herrin was just .202 of a second ahead of his teammate Tommy Aquino and his 1:27.457.Latus Racing's Steve Rapp, who finished third in the season-opening Daytona 200, ended up fourth today on his Ducati, barely ahead of fifth-placed Martin Cardenas on the M4 Monster Suzuki.

Friday Qualifying

1.                  Danny Eslick (Suzuki) 1:27.164

2.                  Josh Herrin (Yamaha) 1:27.255

3.                  Tommy Aquino (Yamaha) 1:27.457

4.                  Steve Rapp (Ducati) 1:27.515

5.                  Martin Cardenas (Suzuki) 1:27.560

6.                  Dane Westby (Yamaha) 1:27.604

7.                  Cory West (Suzuki) 1:28.160

8.                  Clinton Seller (Yamaha) 1:28.878

9.                  Bobby Fong (Ducati) 1:29.416

10.                  Chris Fillmore (Suzuki) 1:29.496

AMA Pro Racing Headlines

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.

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