Suzuki’s Dane Westby earned his first victory in the Daytona SportBike series after an amazing fight to the finish.
M4 Suzuki’s Dane Westby tasted his first Daytona SportBike victory on Saturday at the Mid Ohio Sports Car Course. In one of the most grueling 21-lap battles the AMA Pro Road Racing series has witnessed this season, Westby overtook Monster Energy Yamaha’s Josh Herrin, RMR Suzuki’s Danny Eslick and Latus Motors Racing Ducati’s Jason DiSalvo in the final laps for the win by 0.139 seconds. Herrin posted second in the race, with Eslick rounding out the podium just 0.078 seconds behind Herrin.
DiSalvo had the holeshot off the line with polesitter, Herrin, and Eslick following. Both DiSalvo and Herrin were setting a hectic pace in the beginning laps as one tried to outpace the other. Meanwhile, Yamaha Extended Service rider Tommy Aquino and Jake Holden Racing’s Cameron Beaubier rounded out the top-five during the first lap as DiSalvo and Herrin were fighting side by side for the lead up front. Outside the top-five were M4 Suzuki’s Dane Westby, Vesrah Suzuki’s Cory West, Jake Holden and Celtic Racing’s PJ Jacobsen. HT Moto Yamaha’s Mellisa Paris was forced back to the pits early with a mechanical difficulty, but she returned a few laps later after fixing a tire problem.
Danny Eslick (#69) traded the lead with Jason DiSalvo for most of the race before falling back to third in the final laps.
As Herrin was looking for a way around DiSalvo, Eslick dropped the hammer to make a close pass on Herrin for runner-up in the order. From there Eslick wasted little time moving into the lead ahead of DiSalvo as Westby claimed the fastest lap of the race from sixth place. Roughly halfway through the contest DiSalvo moved back into the lead, but it was short-lived as Eslick refused to relinquish the position. As the lead position was swapped between DiSalvo and Eslick, Herrin remained third as Beaubier ran wide through a turn back in fifth. With 10 laps to go the top-five running order was Eslick, DiSalvo, Herrin, Westby and Aquino.
Just three laps later Herrin overtook DiSalvo for second as Westby moved into the final podium spot. Eslick remained just two-tenths ahead of Herrin as the Yamaha rider desperately fended off Westby’s advances. With five laps to go Westby moved ahead of Herrin and was passing Eslick for the lead, but it was close as Eslick took the lead back with three only laps to go. On the final lap, DiSalvo returned to the top-three after passing Herrin for third. It became a four-way fight to the checkers as Eslick and Westby traded spots, but with just two turns left Eslick dropped down to third as Westby rode ahead to his first Daytona SportBike victory.
“I was a little off the pace in the beginning,” said Westby. “Finally I was able to get back up there and I pulled a couple of moves up the inside and just stuck it up in there. I just had to pull some demon-braking maneuvers there at the end.”
Herrin claimed second 0.139 seconds behind, followed by Eslick another 0.078 seconds back. DiSalvo grabbed fourth, just missing the podium in one of the toughest battles of the season, with Aquino finishing more than two seconds off the pace to round out the top-five.
Daytona SportBike Mid Ohio Race 1 Results:
1. Dane Westby (Suzuki)
2. Josh Herrin (Yamaha)
3. Danny Eslick (Suzuki)
4. Jason DiSalvo (Ducati)
5. Tommy Aquino (Yamaha)
Yamaha’s Josh Herrin outpace Danny Eslick by just 0.078 seconds for runner-up in Race 1 at Mid Ohio.
6. Cameron Beaubier (Yamaha)
7. Cory West (Suzuki)
8. Taylor Knapp (Suzuki)
9. Kyle Wyman (Yamaha)
10. Tyler OHara (Yamaha)
11. Josh Galster (Yamaha)
12. Huntley Nash (Yamaha)
13. Fernando Amantini (Kawasaki)
14. Paul Allison (Yamaha)
15. Santiago Villa (Suzuki)
2011 Daytona SportBike Championship Points:
1. Josh Herrin, 183
2. Danny Eslick, 183
3. Jason DiSalvo, 159
4. Cory West, 151
5. Tommy Aquino, 142
6. Cameron Beaubier, 128
7. Dane Westby, 126
8. Taylor Knapp, 95
9. PJ Jacobsen, 90
10. Tyler OHara, 83