Cardenas Sweeps Subway SuperBike Doubleheader at Road America

Martin Cardenas celebrates winning - Road America ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 3) — GEICO Suzuki superstar Martin Cardenas continued his dominance of the GoPro Daytona SportBike class with his second victory of the weekend Sunday at the Subway SuperBike Doubleheader at Road America. Cardenas has now won six of eight races this season and leads the championship chase by 47 points over Jason DiSalvo, who finished second.

“Today was another great race,” Cardenas said. “I had a much better start than yesterday and was able to gain the No. 1 position by the second lap. I just tried to push and get into a good rhythm and see if anyone else would come with me. It turned out a rather large group came along so we had quite a race.”

Cardenas led by less than a second for nine laps before Cameron Beaubier was able to get past him with three to go. Cardenas regained the top spot a few corners later and the race to the finish was on from there.

“As close as everyone was the last few laps I knew I needed to be perfect,” Cardenas said. “Cameron was very close, I could hear his bike, and I took a few looks back to see where the others were. I knew any mistake would be trouble so I concentrated very hard on hitting my spots.”

Beaubier made one last attempt to pass Cardenas in the final turn but overran the apex, went off the racing surface, and tumbled to the ground, giving Cardenas the cushion he needed to win. Beaubier’s accident allowed DiSalvo to jump up to second, with J.D. Beach filing out the podium. Beaubier, the only other rider to lead laps in this race (he led two), ended up 20th.

“I suppose Cameron was very close around the last turn but I raced the same line I had raced all day,” Cardenas said. “I didn’t know he wrecked until later. I think I would have had the bike to win either way. I was prepared for any move he was going to make and I stayed very aggressive in the braking zones to maintain my position.

“I had my fastest lap the final time around because I knew they were right on my tail. The GEICO Suzuki was very fast all weekend and the team has done everything they can to give me the best bike. The whole team has improved and the new Suzuki is good for me. With everyone getting along the pieces are all there to win.”

The tour takes two weekend’s off before the Triumph SuperBike Classic, which runs June 22-24 at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.

Cardenas Works Hard to Tally Another Victory For GEICO Suzuki

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 2) — GEICO Suzuki rider Martin Cardenas found another way to win a GoPro Daytona SportBike race Saturday at Road America, playing it safe early before riding through the top half of the field from a mid-pack position to take his fifth victory of the season and class-record 21st of his career.

Cardenas had qualified third but encountered problems at the launch, which allowed a large group of trailing riders to pull alongside heading into Turn 1, a sweeping right-hander that is almost as wide as the straightaway. Rather than trying to make back all of his lost ground at once, he fell into line, eventually anchoring the lead group in 12th place.

“My start was not good,” he said. “Actually, it was pretty bad. It felt like it took a moment for it to engage when I released the clutch so I fell back a little bit. The first turn it seemed as if there were 100 bikes around me. I decided to be cautious and wait for the field to thin out a little bit. Then I had to get to work.”

The 29-year-old Colombian found his groove by Lap 3 and started picking off riders in front of him, sometimes in large groupings. By Lap 5 he had moved into third place, where he realized he needed to bridge a fairly sizable gap on leaders Jason DiSalvo and Cameron Beaubier, the two riders that had qualified ahead of him.

“I tucked in as tight as I could to move towards the leaders and (Dane) Westby came with me,” Cardenas said. “I pushed very hard because I was looking at the skies and I thought the rain may start at any moment. I wanted to be in the lead position if that happened.

“The GEICO Suzuki guys gave me a great bike once again. It was very, very fast and I was able to take the lead position on Lap 6. I didn’t want to give it up after that because I was still worried about the rain. I guess someone (Beaubier) made a little mistake and from there I was able to open a small gap with about 3 laps to go and that was all I needed.”

Cardenas’ weather predictions weren’t far off as rain began falling almost as soon as he crossed the finish line, making the cool-down lap an adventure. Eventually, everyone made it back to pit row safely, with Cardenas pulling into the winner’s circle for a raucous welcome from his crew.

With the win, Cardenas extended his championship points lead to 41 over DiSalvo. The total includes the bonus point he earned for leading the most laps in Saturday’s race. The GEICO Suzuki crew also was honored as the No. 1 Team of the race, an award that was accepted by crew chief Frank Aragaki on behalf of team owner Chris Ulrich.

The Subway Superbike Doubleheader schedule now turns to Sunday with Cardenas going for another trophy at 2:15 p.m.

After Setting Track Record, Cardenas Settles For 3rd Spot On Provisional Grid

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (June 1) — Three AMA Pro Daytona SportBike riders bettered the established elapsed time record at historic Road America Friday, and as usual, GEICO Suzuki rider and current class points leader Martin Cardenas was in the mix.

Cardenas initially clocked a 2:19.949 around the 4.05-mile, 14-turn road course — the first sub-2:20 circuit ever — before lowering the mark to 2:19.933. Remarkably, his best time ended up third overall as rivals Cameron Beaubier and Jason DiSalvo both ran fractionally quicker laps in the latter stages of the session.

“The bike felt very good, very fast,” Cardenas said. “I think I could have gone even quicker there at the end but I am pleased with the consistency of the laps we made.”

All the top riders will get a chance to improve their qualifying position Saturday morning beginning at 9:20 a.m. when the Group A riders set the final grid. The first of two GoPro Daytona SportBike main events begins at 2 p.m.

“We should be very quick again,” Cardenas said. “The weather was cool today, which I think helps the performance of the motorcycles, and it’s supposed to be very similar tomorrow. I am sure we will be prepared to make a move.

“I rode both bikes in the practice session this morning and we made some changes from there to prepare for qualifying. The bike we selected responded very well to the adjustments and it was easy to ride. I am very happy with everything at the moment. No problems.”

Cardenas leads the championship rankings by 31 points on the strength of four victories in six races this season. He has started on the pole four times.

Points Leader Cardenas Hoping To Extend Winning Streak at Road America

ELKHART LAKE, Wis. (May 29) — In four career Daytona SportBike starts at Road America, GEICO Suzuki rider Martin Cardenas has three victories and a third-place finish to his credit. It’s no wonder the 29-year-old Colombian smiles broadly whenever he thinks of the historic 4.05-mile, 14-turn layout in eastern Wisconsin.

“I have a great affection for Road America,” Cardenas said in his charming accent. “It’s a beautiful part of the country, the fans are very involved and we’ve figured out how to win there. What more could a rider ask for?”

Cardenas first contested the Daytona SportBike class at Road America in 2009, finishing third and first in the two races held that weekend. He returned the following year and doubled-up, winning both events en route to the class championship at season’s end.

Last year, Cardenas competed in Superbike and was a solid fourth in both races. But now he’s back in Daytona SportBike, where he leads the GoPro championship points with four wins and four No. 1 qualifying efforts this season. His 20 career victories in Daytona SportBike remain the all-time class record.

“Perhaps we can add to our total this time through,” Cardenas said. “This would please us a great deal. I know for sure we will put on a great show for the fans. I hope to give them a reason to go crazy for our GEICO team.

“(Road America) is the longest course we race by quite a bit. It has nice, long straight-aways and some sweeping turns where you can stay on the throttle. It’s very wide open and you can get into a nice flow. There are also quite a few areas where you can make passes. Overall, it suits my style of riding quite well. I love it.”

The son of a successful cattle rancher in his native Colombia, Cardenas feels at home in the farmlands of Wisconsin. When not contesting this year’s Subway SuperBike Doubleheader, he can likely be found cruising through the surrounding area, which reminds him a lot of his homeland.

“I’m sorry I can’t tell you stories of the rock star lifestyle of a professional motorcycle racer because really I am most comfortable by myself at my parent’s house back home,” said Cardenas, who usually flies back to Columbia between races. “I have a little scooter I ride into town but that’s about as exciting as it gets. Maybe that’s why I enjoy the fans here so much, because they are a lot like me.

“I love to drive through the area and see the countryside. And some of my favorite restaurants on tour are very near the track. There is a very familiar feel to this place and I think that is a big part of why we do so well here.”

Daytona SportBike action begins with a practice ride at 1 p.m. EDT Friday, followed by the first qualifying session at 4 p.m. EDT. A second qualifying session begins at 9:20 a.m. EDT, Saturday, with the 13-lap first race kicking off at 2 p.m. EDT. Sunday starts with a warm-up ride at 9:30 a.m. EDT, followed by the second main event at 2:15 p.m. EDT.