Daytona: Series Wednesday practice report

Mladin and Eslick Pace Opening Practice For AMA Pro Road Racing Daytona 200 Week by Honda Mladin Bests American Superbike Field; Eslick Quickest Daytona SportBike Day Runner DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 4, 2009) - Six-time Champion Mat ...

Mladin and Eslick Pace Opening Practice For AMA Pro Road Racing Daytona 200 Week by Honda

Mladin Bests American Superbike Field; Eslick Quickest Daytona SportBike Day Runner

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 4, 2009) - Six-time Champion Mat Mladin (No. 7 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX- R1000) was the fastest rider in the AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited class while 22-year-old Danny Eslick (No. 9 Bruce Rossmeyer's Daytona Racing/RMR Buell 1125R) outpaced a full AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL field Wednesday in the opening day of practice for Daytona 200 Week by Honda at Daytona International Speedway.

Mladin, who is looking for his second Daytona AMA Pro American Superbike win in a row and fourth in five years, set the day's quick lap of 1:38.540 (105.947 mph) in the last of two practices Wednesday afternoon on the 2.9 mile Daytona short course. He edged Neil Hodgson (No. 100 Corona Extra Honda CBR1000RR) who set the session's quick pace halfway through the 60-minute afternoon run and ultimately ended up with a best lap time of 1:38.607 (105.875 mph). Mladin's teammate Tommy Hayden (No. 22 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000) was third in the afternoon run and also ranked third overall in American Superbike for the day with his session-leading morning lap of 1:38.815 (105.652 mph).

Thursday's season-opening American Superbike race starts at 3:30 p.m. local time and will be featured on SPEED in the premiere of the new AMA Pro Prime Time, Saturday, March 21 at 11 p.m. ET (8 p.m. PT).

Eslick turned the fastest lap of the 73 AMA Pro Daytona SportBike entries that posted times in the class's only daytime practice on Wednesday. He lapped the traditional 3.55-mile Daytona long course in 1:49.491 (116.722 mph) and led Team M4 Suzuki teammates Jason DiSalvo (No. 40 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600) and Martin Cardenas (No. 36 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600). DiSalvo posted a quick lap of 1:49.718 (116.480 mph) while Cardenas turned a fast time of 1:49.978 (116.206 mph).

The Daytona SportBike class will be featured in Friday's Daytona 200 by Honda, which can been seen in flag-to-flag coverage that night on SPEED at 8:30 p.m. ET (5:30 p.m. PT). It will mark the first time in the 68-year-history of America's premier motorcycle endurance race that the Daytona 200 will be run at night and under the lights.

Night Moves

DiSalvo stayed quick in Wednesday's Daytona 200 night practice with a top lap time of 1:49.508 (116.704 mph) in a scheduled one-hour session that ended 10 minutes early when local Daytona Beach rider Thomas Digiandomenico (No. 398 J&T Racing Yamaha YZF-R6) went off course in the quick left-hand turn in the infield. Digiandomenico was examined and released from the DIS medical center but his Yamaha was heavily damaged and the extensive accident clean up forced an early end to the session. Several other riders also suffered mishaps during the night run, including Graves Yamaha teammates Ben Bostrom and Josh Herrin. Both riders went off course at Daytona's "Bus Stop" chicane but were uninjured after low-siding their bikes. Bostrom rode the No. 1 Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R6 back to the pits, but Herrin's similar No. 46 Graves Yamaha YZF-R6 was transported back to the team's garage area.

Two-Wheel Tour

Before Hodgson and Daytona 200 by Honda contender DiSalvo even turned a wheel at Daytona this week, both riders took time out of their busy schedules to participate in a Jacksonville, Florida media tour on Tuesday. Hodgson and DiSalvo spent the better part of the day visiting area television stations and also had several radio and print interviews. Hodgson's No. 100 Corona Extra Honda was also brought along to better acquaint the media with an AMA Pro Road Racing machine and proved to be quite popular with all of the press.

"It was awesome," said DiSalvo, who won three races in CCS and ASRA competition last week at Daytona. "All of the media were very knowledgeable and very enthusiastic in generating interest about the Daytona 200 and building awareness for Daytona International Speedway."

The tour was organized by Daytona International Speedway and AMA Pro Road Racing and was the first of many such media opportunities that AMA Pro and its promoter partners will conduct this season.

Sadowski's Super Crew

Supporting his sons David Jr. and Matthew, 1990 Daytona 200 by Honda winner David Sadowski is back at Daytona this week and clearly remembers his first look at motorcycles at speed on the legendary high banks.

"I was as student at the American Motorcycle Institute (AMI) which was located just behind the track," said the elder Sadowski. "I heard what sounded like nuclear sewing machines and climbed a tree, which is still there, to get a look. Freddie Spencer and Mike Baldwin were testing Honda 1000s and I decided right then and there I was going to come back and win this thing someday."

Today, the elder Sadowski is helping 21-year-old AMA Pro Daytona SportBike rider David Jr. (No. 22 Sadowski Brothers Yamaha YZF-R6) and 19-year-old AMA Pro SuperSport challenger Matthew (No. 77 Yamaha YZF-R6) with their own racing. The father-and-son trio, however, is only part of the extended Sadowski clan that is all hands on deck this weekend.

The team also includes the senior Sadowski's older brother Jamie Sadowski, who lives in nearby Melbourne, Florida, and who will be working the rear tire of the No. 22 Yamaha in the Daytona 200. Jamie's sons Jason and Josh will also crew for their cousins this weekend at Daytona. Jason is an Iraqi war veteran who is now part of the SWAT Team for NASA at Cape Canaveral while Jamie is currently a student at WyoTech Daytona, which was formerly AMI.

-credit: ama

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Series AMA
Drivers Tommy Hayden , David Sadowski , Neil Hodgson , Freddie Spencer , Josh Herrin , Martin Cardenas , Ben Bostrom , Danny Eslick