Runner-Up Finish Draws Cardenas Within A Breath Of 2012 Championship

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Sept. 22) — GEICO Suzuki pro Martin Cardenas put a virtual stranglehold on the 2012 GoPro Daytona SportBike championship Saturday with a strong second-place finish in the first of two GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing races this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway.

The 29-year-old Cardenas, who won the Daytona SportBike class in 2010, finishes the day 83 points ahead of Dane Westby, the only rider left with a mathematical chance of winning it all. Saturday’s winner, Cameron Beaubier, was officially eliminated from championship contention.

“I had a great start, got the holeshot, and led the first two laps,” Cardenas said. “Cameron got around me and just pulled a gap. He was very good, especially early in the race. I tried to keep on his pace but I just couldn’t.

“I began focusing on the guys behind me. Bobby and Dane were both on my rear wheel at various times. My pit board seemed to say 0.0 (gap) every time I went by so I knew I needed to ride perfect laps. I think maybe once or twice I made small mistakes but it didn’t hurt me.

“Towards the end I put my head down and increased the pace a little. I picked up a small gap, maybe one second or so on Bobby, and just concentrated on finishing strong in this race.”

The main goal of the day was to finish ahead of Westby, Cardenas’ teammate at Team Hammer. Westby started the day 76 behind Cardenas and lost seven more points with his fourth-place result. The maximum number of points that a single rider could earn this year is 94.

“We wanted to increase the points lead today, if possible, to get us closer to the championship,” Cardenas said. “We didn’t expect to clinch it this race because of the points difference but maybe tomorrow. The main thing is that we improve a little on today’s performance and try to give Cameron a challenge.”

Cardenas has a class-leading seven victories and 12 podium finishes this season.

The second race of the Triumph Big Kahuna Miami is scheduled for 2:15 p.m., Sunday. SPEED TV will air all of Saturday and Sunday’s action.

Another Srong Start For GEICO Suzuki Pro Cardenas

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Sept. 21) — The penultimate event of the 2012 GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing Series has arrived at Homestead-Miami Speedway and championship points leader Martin Cardenas already has established himself as a favorite.

Cardenas opened qualifying for the Triumph Big Kahuna Miami with a steady 1:25.745 lap around the 14-turn, 2.21-mile circuit, good enough for the second slot in the provisional field of the GoPro Daytona SportBike category. Cameron Beaubier was first with a 1:24.645.

“I did what I could; there was no holding back,” said Cardenas, who holds a hefty 76-point lead in the standings. “We only used one set of tires that session to see if they could go the distance so there were no big times coming from our team at the end of the session. I just rode the course and found a comfortable line.”

Weather always is a factor in South Florida, although despite some heavy cloud cover at times it remained mostly rain-free throughout the day.

“The weather was a little unstable both times out but we managed to get some dry time on the track and work on some things,” Cardenas said. “We changed rear shocks between practice and qualifying and it seemed to respond. I think there is more to get and perhaps we can improve.

“If it’s dry in the morning then I think the top group of riders will all be quicker. It’s hard to tell what will happen. The humidity changes can be very dramatic here. I know the GEICO Suzuki team will be prepared for anything that might come our way.”

Qualifying resumes with a second and final session at 8:50 a.m., Saturday, which will set the field for both races. Race 1 takes place at 2 p.m., Saturday, with Race 2 slated for 2:15 p.m., Sunday. SPEED TV will carry all the action.

Video: How GEICO Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas Stretched His Points Lead At New Jersey Motorsports Park

 

GEICO Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas won his seventh AMA Pro Daytona SportBike race of the year and stretched his points lead at New Jersey Motorsports Park.

GEICO Suzuki Rider Cardenas Closes On 2nd Daytona SportBike Title

HOMESTEAD, Fla. (Sept. 20) — Even though GEICO Suzuki rider Martin Cardenas can clinch the 2012 GoPro Daytona SportBike championship at this weekend’s Triumph Big Kahuna Miami, it’s business as usual in the Team Hammer pit as the GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing tour arrives in South Florida.

With a class-leading seven victories and 11 podium finishes on his resume, Cardenas has a huge 76-point margin in the standings, but the 2010 class champion isn’t celebrating anything just yet. With four individual races left on the schedule, including two this weekend at Homestead-Miami Speedway, the 29-year-old Colombian knows anything can happen.

“I have to focus on the normal routine and just racing as we have been all year,” Cardenas said. “We want to qualify well and get a front row position on the grid, if possible, and then we need to go out and race like it’s a normal race.

“Knowing what is at stake will not change anything. Perhaps I will be more cautious at times but if a chance to make a move opens up, then I will try to win each race. The best thing would be to get out front and lead the whole way. Then it doesn’t matter what happens behind me.”

Only three other riders are mathematically alive in the title chase at this point. Dane Westby has the best chance, 76 points back. Cameron Beaubier (-108 points) and Tommy Hayden (-122) also have a chance. The maximum points a rider can earn in the final four races is 126.

“Of course, we all know the championship is within reach,” Cardenas said. “The excitement is there for many of our friends and family members. I am staying the same for now. My excitement will come at the appropriate time.”

Racing starts with a practice session at noon, Friday, followed by the first qualifying session at 3 p.m. Qualifying resumes with a second and final session at 8:50 a.m., Saturday, which will set the field for both races. Race 1 takes place at 2 p.m., Saturday, with Race 2 slated for 2:15 p.m., Sunday. SPEED TV will carry all the action.