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GEICO Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas Captures Daytona 200 Pole, Rolex watch

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Colombia’s Martin Cardenas captured the pole and the coveted Rolex watch on Friday afternoon for the 71st running Daytona 200 AMA Pro GoPro Daytona SportBike at Daytona International Speedway.

Cardenas, riding the GEICO Suzuki, toured the 3.51-mile road course at one minute, 49.560 seconds, 115.334 mph.

“I was very close to winning that watch in 2010,” said Cardenas about his second career AMA Pro pole. “Danny (Eslick) beat me by a small amount of time. This time I wanted to give 100 percent to try to get it. I’ve got the pole and I’m very happy for it.”

Rounding out the front row for Saturday’s Daytona 200 are Yamaha’s Cameron Beaubier (115.143 mph), Jason DiSalvo on a Triumph (115.111) and Yamaha’s Joey Pascarella (114.711).

“The results for that session weren’t indicative of what our team is capable,” said DiSalvo, who is running a special tribute paint scheme on his No. 9 Triumph for the late Gary Nixon. “We definitely know where there are a couple of things we need to tighten up on. We’re going to come out swinging tomorrow. It’s just one of those things. Some of your performances, no matter how prepared and dialed in you are, we’re just not going to be there.”

National Guard SuperBike Race 1: Two-time defending AMA National Guard SuperBike champion Josh Hayes began his title defense with a dominating victory in the 15-lap opening round.

Hayes topped Yoshimura Suzuki’s Blake Young by 8.332 seconds to earn his first Daytona SuperBike win with Jordan Suzuki’s Roger Hayden finishing third.

“It was a fantastic day,” Hayes said. “(The team) has improved our bike so much from last year and today it showed. I knew they were working hard and I’ve been working hard and hopefully this is the first of many to come.”

“I’m pretty disappointed in my performance,” Young said.

The second round of the AMA National Guard SuperBike is set for Saturday at 11 a.m.

Vance & Hines XR 1200/Motorcycle Superstore.com SuperSport: In the Vance & Hines XR1200, Kyle Wyman used the traditional Daytona slingshot move coming out of the chicane to edge Tyler OHara and veteran Michael Barnes to win the seven-lap season-opening event.

“I just wanted to be in the right place at the right time and it worked out good for me, said Wyman, who was the inaugural winner of the Vance & Hines XR1200 event at Daytona in 2011.

Celtic Racing’s James Rispoli survived a furious eight-bike battle in the 10-lap Motorcycle Superstore.com SuperSport and nipped Jake Lewis at the start/finish line to win the race by a margin of .031 seconds.