DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Graves Yamaha rider Cameron Beaubier delivered a dominating performance on Saturday at Daytona International Speedway leading 50 of the 57 laps to win the 72nd Daytona 200 AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike race.
Beaubier of Roseville, Calif., started on the pole and had two flawless pit stops to claim a 22.254-second margin of victory in America’s most historic motorcycle race.
“I’m pretty tired right now but I’m trying to soak in everything,” Beaubier said. “I rode as hard as I could in the first stint and then tried to be super consistent. I had one little mess up running wide in Turn 1 but after that I calmed down and kept clicking off lap times.”
Beaubier’s Graves Yamaha teammate Garrett Gerloff finished second and Richie Morris Racing’s Bobby Fong, also riding a Yamaha, rounded out the podium.
“That was definitely a tough race,” Gerloff said. “It was a lot more laps than I thought it would be. I wish I could have caught up to Cameron. He was on it.”
Two women riders placed in the top 10. Elena Myers finished ninth riding a Triumph, the best finish by a woman rider in the Daytona 200 history, and Melissa Paris finished 10th aboard a Honda for MPH Racing.
Paris previously owned the best finish of a woman rider in the Daytona 200 with an 18th-place finish in 2011.
“It was a crazy long race,” said Myers, who became the first woman to win a professional motorsports event at Daytona International Speedway last year. “The first 20 laps were like a sprint race. After that, I just got in my groove and tried to stay consistent and not do anything too crazy and keep it on two wheels.”
Paris enjoyed battling Myers for the same position on the track.
“She’s such a great competitor,” Paris said of Myers. “I like that she can race hard without racing dirty. She’s so talented. To ride around with her was great.”
National Guard SuperBike Race 2: Colombian Martin Cardenas, riding the No. 36 Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000, won the second round of the AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike, his first Daytona SuperBike victory.
Cardenas was in a tight three-bike battle for the lead when both Graves Yamaha riders Josh Hayes and Josh Herrin ran into problems.
On Lap 11, Herrin suddenly dropped off the pace in Turn 1. He managed to return to the track but lost significant ground on the leaders.
“I made a mistake going into one and went into neutral,” said Herrin, who won Friday’s opening round of AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike. “I just tried to regroup after that and get some points.”
On Lap 12, Hayes, the three-time defending AMA Pro National Guard SuperBike champion, had the engine expire on his No. 1 Yamaha entering Turn 1 forcing him to drop out of the race and finish 15th.
It’s the second consecutive day Hayes did not finish the race and he leaves Daytona with only two championship points.
Cardenas was able to ride away for a dominating 11.453-second victory while Herrin edged Pegram for runner-up honors.
“If Hayes didn’t have a problem, I think he would’ve have finished first,” Cardenas said. “He was a little bit faster than me today. I’ll take it anyway.”
Motorcycle Superstore.com SuperSport: Tomas Puerta riding the No. 12 RoadRace Factory Racing Yamaha YZF-R6, claimed victory in the 10-lap Motorcycle Superstore.com SuperSport event.
Puerta was among 12 drivers in a furious battle in the closing laps of the race. The Colombian rider was able to pull away from the field exiting the chicane on the final lap.
“Today, I was going to be in the lead as much as I can,” said Puerta, who led a race-high six laps. “On the last lap, I put my head down and I just thought about what I was doing and I didn’t care where they went in the draft. I looked back after the horseshoe on the last lap. I saw that I had a little draft and I kept pushing all the way towards the finish line.”
Rounding out the podium was Charles Weaver on a Yamaha YZF-R6 and Corey Alexander on a Suzuki GSX-R600.
Motorcycles will return to Daytona International Speedway on Oct. 17-20 with Fall Cycle Scene.
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