SONOMA, CA, MAY 15: Monster M4 Suzuki's Martin Cardenas won his third Daytona SportBike race in a row with a hard-fought victory over Danny Eslick (Geico Powersports/RMR Racing Suzuki) on a sunny afternoon at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California.The Suzuki riders broke away from a four-rider pack in the final third of the 22-lap final, taking the fight to each other. The lead spot swapped back and forth repeatedly, with most of the passes coming in the double left turn seven at the far end of the track.But that wasn't where the final pass was made. The decisive move came at the end of the 20th lap when Cardenas outraced Eslick from the final turn into turn one, taking the lead on the inside across the line and holding it as they bent into the left hand turn one.

Eslick came back at Cardenas in turn seven on the 21st lap, but the resolute Cardenas held his ground as the pair continued to encounter traffic. For Eslick, the worst of it would come later on the penultimate lap. Exiting the final turn on the run to the white flag, the reigning Daytona SportBike champion encountered a slower rider who wanted to engage in a drag race. Eslick motioned with his left hand for the rider to back off, but by then Cardenas was speeding away.On the final lap Eslick never really got a sniff and Cardenas sped to his third win in a row -he'd swept the Road Atlanta double-header-and fourth of the season."At the end I could hang on and I could win. It was a very good race," Cardenas said. Said Eslick, "It's a little frustrating sometimes, but everybody's out there racing for the show, so it's part of it."The margin of victory was .841 secs."Really can't complain, other than got beat again," Eslick added.Third place was also a two-rider same brand battle between Team Graves Yamaha pole-sitter Tommy Aquino and the late charging Dane Westby, riding with a special one-off paint job on his Project 1 Atlanta Yamaha. Aquino mostly controlled the pace, though Westby did briefly take over third several laps from the end.Still, Aquino held on to finish third, his best result of the season."I really wanted this podium this weekend," Aquino said. "I was trying to not let anybody by."Then came a gap of 4.289 secs. to Team Graves Yamaha's Josh Herrin, who was alone in fifth.By finishing second, Eslick took command of the championship with 137 points. Cardenas and Herrin are tied for second at 133.

Results:

1. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki)

2. Danny Eslick (Suzuki)

3. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha)

4. Dane Westby (Yamaha)

5. Josh Herrin (Yamaha)

6. Clinton Seller (Yamaha)

7. Cory West (Suzuki)

8. Chris Fillmore (Suzuki)

9. Steve Rapp (Ducati)

10. P.J. Jacobsen (Suzuki)

AMA Pro Racing Headlines

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.

Comments