Yoshimura Suzuki continues to announce its presence with authority. At round two of the fledgling 2014 GEICO Motorcycle Superbike Shootout Presented by Yamaha this past weekend at Sonoma Raceway in Sonoma, CA, Yoshimura Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas carded a podium finish. This performance was a tidy little follow-up to his win at round one the previous weekend at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, CA.
Colombian Cardenas’ Yoshimura Suzuki teammates Roger Hayden and Chris Clark weren’t far behind, bringing home fifth- and eighth-place results, respectively. This past weekend’s race was the second of three events that make up the 2014 Superbike Shootout, a Western-states series pairing the Pros with Semi-pro and Amateur events.
When qualifying commenced on Saturday, Cardenas admittedly struggled and was forced to start the race from the second row on the grid. Despite this, the aggressive rider got a good launch and had taken over a podium position by lap five. Although he was never able to gain ground on eventual race winner Cameron Beaubier and second-place Josh Hayes, both riding for Monster Energy Graves Yamaha, he had no problem keeping the pack behind him. In the end, Cardenas walked away with a third-place finish.
“We had a tough time on the first day,” said Cardenas. “But we made some changes to the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 for the practice and warm-up on Sunday, and then we made another step in that direction for the race. It was a good race but I made a few mistakes and let the leaders get away. I did the best I could to reel them in again. But overall, I’m happy to get on the podium, that’s always good.”
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Hayden also struggled but attributed much of his problems to ailing health. The Kentucky rider had been sick and was still recovering on race day. Despite this, he still gave it his all. At the start, Hayden got out with the top 10 but soon after came upon a slower rider and had to run off track briefly before rejoining the field far back. The determined Hayden pushed through, however, and made his way up to fifth place.
“I really didn’t get the best of starts,” said Hayden. “Then I got shuffled back a bit. And on the second lap, I came up on somebody quicker than I thought I would, and I had to go off track to avoid hitting him and I fell back to 16th. From there, I kept a steady pace and just worked my way up. It wasn’t a good weekend for me, I’ve been under the weather and that affected me on the bike. Now we’ll go back and get ready for the next race.”
Rounding out the Yoshimura Suzuki team was Clark, who got off the line right with teammate Hayden. The Las Vegas native managed to maneuver himself into fifth at the halfway point in the race. Unfortunately, he struggled a bit with tire choice and faded back to eighth by the end of the 20-lap event.
“I got off to a pretty good start and took advantage of a few things and got in the top five,” said Clark. “We had a good set-up for the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 but I had a little bit of trouble toward the end of the race. But overall it was a pretty positive weekend. The Yoshimura Suzuki team and I are working well together and communication was great. I’m just focusing on the positives and getting ready for the next race.”
Tags: Auto Club Speedway, Cameron Beaubier, Chris Clark, GEICO, Josh Hayes, Monster Energy Graves Yamaha, Motorsports, Roger Hayden, Sonoma Raceway, Suzuki, Suzuki GSX-R1000, Yoshimura Suzuki
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