Team Latus Motors Racing’s Jason DiSalvo wins Daytona 200

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Team Latus Motors Racing rider Jason DiSalvo underwent an engine change and survived a furious 15-lap sprint to win the 70th Daytona 200 AMA Pro Daytona SportBike race at Daytona International Speedway on Saturday.

DiSalvo, whose victory was his first in the Daytona 200 and also the first for Ducati, was among eight riders jockeying for position in the lead pack during the final 15 laps that followed a pair of red flags.

He held off runner-up Cory West by 0.030 seconds while pole winner and 2006 Daytona 200 winner Jake Zemke settled for third.

The race, which was halted for the first time at Lap 27 for a mandatory front-tire change, was reduced from 57 laps to 42 laps setting up a final 15-lap restart.

The red flag gave DiSalvo a second chance at winning the historic motorcycle race.

At the same time the first red flag came out, DiSalvo’s motor expired on his No. 40 Ducati. During the extended red flag, DiSalvo’s crew was able to change engines with the back-up bike and have him prepared to return to the track when racing resumed.

“After what the team went through today with everything with the engine, those guys worked so hard,” DiSalvo said. “That was probably the biggest thrash in all of motorcycle history to get that bike back together and ready to rock on time to start. It’s just amazing. I’m almost speechless as to how I feel about winning this race. I don’t think it has sunk in yet.”

In the National Guard SuperBike round, defending champion Graves Yamaha’s Josh Hayes led every lap except the last lap as Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider Blake Young pulled the slingshot at the start/finish line to complete the sweep of both rounds of the SuperBike at Daytona. The margin of victory was 0.072 seconds.

“I’m happy for my guys,” Young said. “I want to be a contender this year for the championship and get through all of the rounds.  It’s nice to get out of here with a couple of wins and get some points.

“I saw Josh put his head down. He rode a really smart and tough race. More than once in that race, I thought he was gone. He was getting around that infield really, really well. It was everything I could do to stay near him.”

Hayes’ strategy was to be the leader and try to breakaway from the field.

“I did my game plan,” Hayes said. “I told the guys at the truck that I’m going to try to do .37s. Hopefully that’s enough to breakaway from these guys and they won’t be able to catch me. I got away with it for 14 laps. I rode the best I could. The last lap was a good lap. I did everything right. I did exactly what I was wanting and trying to do. You get beat sometimes.

“That’s a hard pill to swallow. I had done everything right for so long. To get nipped at the line was pretty tough. But this is glorious compared to how I left Daytona last year.”

Notes: In the 10-lap SuperSport race, it was a 1-2 Colombia finish with David Gaviria nipping Tomas Puerta at the start/finish line by 0.048 seconds … During the Daytona 200, Ricky Orlando of Boulder, CO, surpassed Rick Shaw as the new mileage leader in event history on Lap 3 … The one-hour conclusion of the Daytona 200 will air on SPEED Channel tonight at 11 p.m. ET.

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