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Smooth sailing for Beaubier in 72nd Daytona 200

March 17, 2013

Cameron Beaubier won the 72nd DAYTONA 200 on Saturday as the 20-year-old dominated on board his Y.E.S Graves Yamaha YZF-R6 in the famous 200-mile race. Beaubier earned pole and led much of the race by a wide margin, putting his stamp on a GEICO Motorcycle AMA Pro Road Racing event that many racing legends have claimed for themselves over the years.

Beaubier was the fastest man in AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike over the three days, and managed to run a clean 57-lap race with two trouble-free pit stops. He lapped up to fifth place and won by 22.254 seconds in a race with no red flags. The 20-year-old set a high mark as he begins the 2013 AMA Pro season with a stellar race. He led pretty all but seven laps, taking the lead for the last on lap 21 and never looking back.

"I'm pretty tired right now, but I'm just trying to soak everything in," said Beaubier. "I rode as hard as I could the first stint and then be super-consistent. I had one little mess-up -- I ran wide in Turn 1 -- and then after that I just calmed down and kept clicking off laps. My Yamaha Extended Service Monster Energy Graves Yamaha ran awesome. They gave me two awesome pit stops, and I just rode as hard as I could. I can't thank them enough."


His teammate Garrett Gerloff led early in the race before finishing second, ahead of Bobby Fong of the RMR/Triple Crown team. Gerloff was able to make his way clear of Fong, but was unable to run down Beaubier.

Gerloff had a tough crash at Daytona last year and left with a broken leg, but the Texan leaves this year having earned second place. "(The race was) longer than I thought it would be, but it was awesome," said Gerloff. "It was awesome to be in the front group at the beginning and then Cameron started pulling away and we started pulling him back. Every once in a while we'd pass him and then he made a run for it and kind of got away. I tried to catch up but I just couldn't do it. Big thanks to my team for awesome pit stops and all the testing we do. That's why we're 1-2 on the podium. I think this is going to be an awesome year and I just want to keep it rolling."

Fong had a solid race but wanted more. As one of the contenders in the GoPro Daytona SportBike class, Fong has shown he can be as aggressive as any rider in the series. On Saturday, he lost Beaubier's draft. "I made a mistake in the beginning of the race -- the bike was hitting false neutrals, and I let Cameron get away. So I had to ride pretty much by myself the whole time. It was a long race but the training I did this off-season paid off. My bike worked great the whole time -- I was just out there circulating, trying to maintain my position. It's the best finish I've ever had at Daytona so thanks to everyone for helping me out."

RoadRace Factory teammates Jake Gagne and J.D. Beach finished fourth and fifth in the race. The young teammates outlasted a pack of challengers that included Jake Zemke, who retired from the race after leading five laps and battling in the top ten.

Steve Rapp, filling in for Dane Westby on the GEICO Honda, earned sixth place with a strong ride. Rapp rode well as a substitute rider, hopping on the bike for the first time Friday morning.

Young rider James Rispoli on the National Guard/Celtic Racing Suzuki had a strong race before losing a bit of steam at the end and taking seventh ahead of Ben Young (Ben Young Racing).

Two women finished inside the top 10, with Elena Myers (Sturgess Cycle Triumph) getting the nod over Melissa Paris (MPH Racing.) Paris looked to have the position locked up but a pit stop infraction meant she had to serve a ride-through penalty that reversed their order.

The 72nd running of DAYTONA 200 will be aired in a next-day delayed broadcast on SPEED, set to begin Sunday, March 17, 2013 at 1:30 p.m. ET/ 10:30 a.m. PT.

AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike

Any residual sense of inevitability hanging over the paddock as a result of Josh Hayes' all-conquering 2012 campaign was promptly shattered in the opening weekend of the 2013 AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike season. Hayes' improbable Friday DNF disaster was doubled up on Saturday, and the three-time defending champ now finds himself in an early hole in his pursuit of a fourth consecutive crown.


In contrast, Martin Cardenas celebrated a spectacular victory in his first weekend with the storied Yoshimura Suzuki squad, one-upping his Friday runner-up. He earned the win after pushing Hayes deep into the race before the Mississippian's Yamaha expired shortly after the two took the stripe for the 12th time in the 15-lapper.

Hayes leapt into the lead at the green light, but was again unable to shake his Monster Energy Graves Yamaha teammate, Josh Herrin, who again tucked right in behind on his #2 R1.

Cardenas too got away with the leading Yamahas but appeared to be just barely clinging on to the front, fading to just over a second behind by lap 5. In danger of losing the lead draft, the Colombian summoned a remarkable 1:36.835 lap from his #36 GSX-R1000 (the only '36 of the weekend) to close right back in on the escaping Yamaha pilots, apparently setting the stage for a race-long dogfight to the checkered flag.

The factory Suzuki man used that building momentum to fight his way up to the lead momentarily on lap 8, but Hayes and Herrin displaced him to third once again on the following lap.

However, Herrin bowed out of that battle on lap 10, running off in Turn 1. He re-entered the fray nearly ten seconds back -- still in the top three but joined by the chasing Larry Pegram on the Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing Yamaha YZF-R1.

Hayes managed to eke out a small bit of padding over the subsequent laps but his hard work proved for naught when smoke began to pour out from beneath his machine's fairing and he moved aside, allowing Cardenas to power into the lead and ultimately race home to the second AMA Pro SuperBike victory of his career.

The triumphant Cardenas said, "I didn't expect a win to come this soon in the season. If Hayes didn't have a problem I think he would have ended up first because he was a little bit faster than me today. I'll take it anyway -- anybody can have problems in each race.

"I'm very happy. I want to thank very much Yoshimura Suzuki for giving me the opportunity to ride for them. This team is awesome."

Some 11 seconds back, Herrin narrowly fended off Pegram to finish second and take an early one-point championship lead over Cardenas.

"I felt really good today compared to yesterday in the beginning of the race," Herrin said. "I felt really comfortable sitting behind him. He'd gap me coming out of the chicane but I'd be able to close back up to him every time going into Turn 1. Whenever Martin started dicing it up with us it got pretty crazy. It was fun, it went from just sitting there to having to think about it and be real smart.

"I just didn't pull up hard enough on the lever going into Turn 1 and went into neutral. I was lucky I was able to save it and regroup and hold off Larry to the end."

Pegram leaves Daytona with a pair of thirds, his first two trips to podium since the 2010 season.

Pegram said, "It was pretty uneventful today until the end; I had a lot of fun racing with Josh Herrin. I'm not looking forward to the (angry) Josh Hayes that will show up at Road America. We can say whatever we want, but he was the guy to beat in both races and had some bad luck. I'm sure when we show up at Road America he'll be fighting. But hey, we'll take it."

National Guard Jordan Suzuki's Roger Hayden bounced back from yesterday's DNF with fourth after edging new Jordan Suzuki teammate Danny Eslick to the stripe.

Cardenas' Yoshimura Suzuki teammate, Chris Clark, beat Team Moto Venezuela PC 4x4 Kawasaki's Robertino for sixth, while Chris Fillmore finished eighth after earlier running in a pack with Clark and Pietri. That pack also included M4 Broaster Chicken Racing's Chris Ulrich, who ultimately finished a bit further back in ninth, and Motosport.com Motul Fly Racing's David Anthony, who ran into troubles late and finished a lap down in 12th).

Spaniard Bernat Martinez rounded out the top ten on the Team TJA Valencia Suzuki GSX-R1000.

Triple champ Hayes leaves Daytona with just two points to his name, one for pole and one for leading the most laps today. Meanwhile, Herrin boasts 56 and Cardenas 55.

That deficit promises to make for an exciting campaign for fans and a new challenge for Hayes, who won last year's championship by a 154-point margin. 

Saturday's AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike race will be aired on SPEED tomorrow, Sunday, March 16, 2013 at 9:00 p.m. ET/ 6:00 p.m. PT.

AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport

Tomas Puerta won Saturday's AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport Race Two at Daytona International Speedway. Puerta was strong all 10 laps and was able to earn a gap on the final time around the famed circuit, putting his stamp on a race that saw as many as 10 riders take part in the draft battles at the front. The RoadRace Factory pilot topped CJ Weaver on the Napa Auto-sponsored Yamaha. Corey Alexander on the National Guard/Celtic Racing Suzuki team took third.


Polesitter Puerta was disappointed with how the first Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport race ended on Friday. After running near the front, the Colombian found himself shuffled back in the field when the last lap ended and took fifth. On Saturday, he seemed more determined to lead and for his efforts earned his second career AMA Pro Motorcycle-Superstore.com SuperSport victory. He put his head down in the final laps and earned a one-second gap as he turned his fastest lap the final time around.

"I made a mistake on the last lap yesterday," said Puerta. "I [took the wrong line] on the banking on the last lap and couldn't get back to the front. Today, the bike ran great and I can't thank my team enough. This race was much better. Today, I wanted to be in the lead as much as I could. I tried to put in a perfect lap and push to the finish line."

After a red flag on lap one, the race shaped up as the typical Daytona draft-fest. The top 12 finished within three seconds of Puerta.

Many riders, including Stefano Mesa, Jeffrey Tigert, and Hayden Gillim, took a turn at the front. One of the impressive riders was Sebastiao Ferreira from Brazil on his BP Racing machine that chased Puerta late.

20 year-old Weaver climbed from a 13th starting position to second place (and his first top-ten finish in the class.) "I crashed in the warm-up, but I kept moving forward in the race," said Weaver.

The battles behind the top two required photo finish equipment to determine which rider would take the remaining step on the podium, with eventual third-place finisher Alexander taking the spot.

Tigert was fourth on his CM Motorsports machine. Harv's H-D pilot Travis Wyman was fifth, followed by David Sadowski, Jr on his Yamaha. Friday winner Stefano Mesa was seventh on the MotoSport.com Yamaha.

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