AMA ProSbk: Cardenas Wins AMA Pro SportBike Thriller

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AMA Press Release:

Martin Cardenas ripped win number four of the 2012 season away from Jason DiSalvo on Sunday at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah. Cardenas led only the very last section of track after a relentless 16-lap assault of DiSalvo. Cameron Beaubier was able to retake third place from Jake Zemke.

The race developed into a three-man battle between DiSalvo, Cardenas, and Beaubier with Zemke and Bobby Fong shadowed just behind the trio. Beaubier was able to challenge DiSalvo several times and was able to move into the lead on lap 3 and lap 6. Cardenas was in close quarters with DiSalvo and Beaubier, but chose to let his two rivals battle for the lead.

With seven laps to go, Beaubier dropped back, leaving the fight at the front to the two multi-race winners. The last lap proved to be one of the season's highlights, with Cardenas pressing DiSalvo in every corner. The Triumph rider began the lap 0.525 seconds in front. He was able to hold off the Suzuki man until Club Corner, where Cardenas finally made the pass happen.

Cardenas quickly consolidated the lead by making a tight move on a lapped rider, leaving DiSalvo with no option to remount an attack in the last few yards.

It was Martin's third win of the year, and comes on the heels of a disastrous race at Sonoma that saw the Colombian crash out of second place while chasing DiSalvo for the win.

"At first, I think all of us were pushing hard, but not in excess. Then Jason got up front, and he put his head down and gapped us a bit," said Cardenas, who said he had to push to keep up. "I was planning to make my move at the hairpin but it didn't work out and I thought the race was lost then because he was very fast in the last sector. I got a very good drive, and we went side to side and I braked as hard as I could and passed him."

"It worked out, but it wasn't the original plan," he added.

Cardenas now leads by 31 points over Tommy Hayden. It was his 22nd AMA Pro win and the 50th win for Team Hammer in AMA Pro Racing.

DiSalvo took another excellent finish after the double win in Sonoma but was disappointed not to take a victory after leading 14 laps.

"That was a tough one, leading so many laps and then it coming down to the last few corners and then losing out," said DiSalvo, who said he lost some grip near the end of the race. "I felt pretty happy with the race. I didn't leave anything on the table, and it came down to the last section. I was a little bit bummed about the lappers, and it's hard to say whether I would have been able to answer back to Martin's pass."

DiSalvo expects more battles with Beaubier and Cardenas. "I think all three of us have shown we are the class of the field, and I look forward to more battles with these guys," said DiSalvo.

Cameron, still injured after a non-racing crash, led some and proved he could run up front. "I burnt up my tire passing hard at the beginning, and I couldn't keep the pace at the end," he said.

Zemke took fourth once again, for the fourth time in 2012. Bobby Fong was fifth, ahead of charging Dane Westby who moved up to sixth with J.D. Beach in tow over Benny Solis. Hayden was ninth, ahead of Jake Gagne.

AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike

Josh Hayes took advantage of the fast-improving conditions on Sunday morning to lay down a blistering 1:49.729 lap around Miller Motorsport Park, strong enough to increase his perfect run of pole positions this season to four.

And with that, the Monster Energy Graves Yamaha pilot moved clear of motor sport legend Wayne Rainey for fifth on the all-time list with his 16th career AMA Pro SuperBike pole position. Should Hayes continue his streak through June, he'll move alongside two other former world champions in Freddie Spencer (17) and Doug Polen (18).

The Mississippian was immediately up to speed on fresh rubber during the session but cautioned that tire wear could be a deciding factor in Monday's 16-lap race.

"I think tire life is probably a bit of an issue for everyone right now," the defending champ stated. "At the start of the session, I went out on yesterday's tires, and it was tough to get up to speed. I was watching Roger (Hayden) ride away from me, and I was like, 'Man, I hope it's not like this when I get a new tire.' We got a fresh one and it was definitely worth quite a bit to us."

Lining up alongside Hayes will be current points leader and '11 MMP victor Blake Young, who qualified second at 1:50.141 on the #79 Yoshimura Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000. Young was frustrated to see Hayes pick up another point in qualifying but sounded confident heading into tomorrow's race.

"We made some improvements compared to yesterday," Young said. "I think we have a pretty good race bike and that's what matters. I'm looking forward to the race and the bike is working good for me once again. It should be an exciting race."

Meanwhile, the Erik Buell Racing contenders continued to underline the fact that they have truly arrived at the front and intend to stay there. Following an impressive double podium outing in Sonoma, the EBR1190RS of Geoff May and Danny Eslick will both start Monday's final from the front row with May third and Eslick fourth.

May, who was only 0.078 seconds behind Young at 1:50.219, felt he could have gone even faster. "I got off one of the corners a little too hot. It's all about momentum here. You screw up once, and it costs you. I feel like I definitely have more there. I kept surprising myself; every lap, we kept getting better and better. I kept asking more out of the bike, and it kept giving it to me. I'm having a blast out there. This is one of my favorite tracks, and I love being here."

Fourth-ranked Eslick said, "With the wind and everything, I parked it with 20 minutes to go in yesterday's session. I didn't want to throw it down the road or do anything stupid. We rolled the thing off the truck this morning, and it was rolling pretty good. On my fast lap there, I snuck in behind Josh and tried to get a tow. It definitely helps at a big, long track like this. Josh was on some good laps; we went through some traffic, so I think it could have been a little better but I have no complaints sitting on the front row at Miller Motorsports Park with the fastest guys in the business."

Roger Hayden leapt to the top of the charts early and was looking to post an even quicker lap when he clipped a curb and crashed his #54 Suzuki GSX-R1000. The Kentuckian returned to the track and lowered his time but was shuffled down the order as others improved even further.

Ben Bostrom was sixth, followed by Josh Herrin and Chris Clark, who rounded out the second row.

Row 3 will feature Larry Pegram, Steve Rapp, David Anthony, and Robertino Pietri.

Monday's AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike race will air on SPEED in a same-day delayed broadcast at 5:00 p.m. ET/2:00 p.m. PT.

AMA Pro SuperSport

Hayden Gillim made a swift early-race charge in Sunday's AMA Pro SuperSport contest to climb from fourth to first in little over a lap.

After making a handful of slick maneuvers to slice into the lead, Gillim proceeded to drop his pursuers and open up the advantage to around four seconds. That padding ultimately proved necessary as tire wear saw his big lead evaporate late; Gillim managed to hold on to claim his second-career class victory with a 1.062-second margin of victory.

Gillim said, "I felt really good for the race today. I knew I could win, but I didn't have any idea I could get out front and get a gap. I thought these guys would be right behind me the entire way. But my tires started going away at the end, and they started reeling me back in. But I built up a big enough of a gap that they couldn't quite catch me. I think one more lap, they would have been right there."

Gillim's early disappearing act left Jake Lewis, Dustin Dominguez, and Gillim's teammate Tomy Puerta to settle in for the battle for second. Lewis ultimately came out on top of a hard-fought scrap for the runner-up spot ahead of Dominguez, while Puerta finished a close fourth.

In order to equalize the points paying opportunities between SuperSport's East and West Divisions, points were paid for final grid positions and one additional bonus point was paid for fastest lap of the race.

Gillim's max points weekend combined with James Rispoli's 8th place result tightens up the West Region points considerably. Rispoli leads Gillim 145-124.

AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series

Tyler O'Hara became the first man to claim a second pole position this year in the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series with a convincing qualifying effort on Sunday afternoon. O'Hara led the way with a 2:07.725, handing him the honor by an uncharacteristically large gap of 0.826 seconds.

"I just felt really comfortable, and I'm having a lot of fun," O'Hara said, "I put in a solid lap, and I just can't wait until tomorrow's race; I've been waiting for this race since Infineon ended. I'm really looking forward to tomorrow."

Kyle Wyman was second fastest at 2:08.551, with teammate Michael Barnes third at 2:08.999.

Gerry Signorelli rounds out the front row with a best lap of 2:09.343.

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