Attack Kawasaki's Chaz Davies rode to an impressive second place finish in the Daytona 200 only to be awarded the win after Josh Hayes was disqualified later that evening.
Saturday's 67th running of the Daytona 200 by Honda got off on schedule despite blustery conditions that blew through the speedway. Neither riders nor fans knew what to expect as the winds howled through the 2.9-mile circuit. American Honda's Miguel Duhamel was hoping to make history and take an unprecedented sixth Daytona 200 win, which would have made him the most winningest rider in Daytona 200 history. His American Honda teammate, Neil Hodgson, was trying to make history of his own. The British rider qualified on pole and looked like he might have a shot at winning his first ever 200.
At the start of the 69-lap race, it was Erion Racing Honda's Josh Hayes with the holeshot. Following him was fellow American Honda rider Jake Zemke, Attack Kawasaki's Steve Rapp, American Honda Neil Hodgson, and Rapp's Attack Kawi teammate, Chaz Davies.
The race's first casualties happened almost immediately, with factory BMW rider Rico Penzkofer crashing his HP2 Sport on Lap 1. His American teammate Brian Pariott would also run off track but managed to keep his BMW upright. Rockwall Honda's Aaron Gobert was the next rider to go down.
Duhamel somehow destroyed the clutch on his CBR600RR and was forced to return to the pits after the start of the race. Duhamel quickly switched to his back-up bike, but unfortunately it was deemed an illegal move. The AMA officials
American Honda had a Daytona to forget. Starting with the disqualification of Miguel Duhamel after he swapped to his back-up bike following the first lap of the Daytona 200.
didn't make the decision until two-thirds through the race. According to the AMA, it would have been legal to go to a back-up machine at any point during the first 3 laps so long as the race had been red-flagged. The move took place following an incident that brought out the caution flag and the pace car which opened the door for him to re-start in 63rd position.
Back up front, Zemke and Hayes battled for the lead with the two routinely swapping positions in the early stages of the race. However, Zemke's race would come to a grinding halt when the Erion Honda rider's crew couldn't get the rear axle installed during his pit-stop on Lap 23.
This left the door wide open for Hayes and Hodgson, but the British rider over shot the chicane and ran into the grass on Lap 27. The mistake cost Hodgson 23-seconds, yet he retained his second-place position. Unfortunately bad luck would continue to plague Hodgson as his bike finally shut-down in a pool of fluid towards the latter stages of the race.
Hayes continued to work his way to a considerable gap over the Attack Kawasaki's of Chaz Davies and Steve Rapp and
Josh Hayes celebrates his Daytona 200 victory only to find out later that he would be disqualified and be stripped of the momentus victory and bumping the two Attack Kawasaki riders into first and second place in the final results.
would go on to his first-ever Daytona 200 win.
In a surprising turn of events, the Attack Kawasaki team has been awarded its second consecutive 1-2 finish in the Daytona 200 and an all Pirelli podium in America's most prestigious motorcycle roadracing event.
Attack's Chaz Davies was handed the victory while his teammate Steve Rapp moves up to second place in the final order after Hayes' disqualification. It's likely a bitter-sweet event for Rapp though. If things had gone as planned for the Attack Kawasaki team, this could have been Rapp's second consecutive Daytona win. When the Attack team signaled Rapp to come in for his first scheduled pit stop, Davies mistakenly entered pit lane first so when Rapp came around expecting to see his crew awaiting his arrival he was surprised to see the 57 bike already there. As a result, Rapp was forced to re-enter the race for one-more slow lap which cost the defending D200 winner valuable time - and ultimately the opportunity for the race win.
"We had a new team but everything went quite well," explained Rapp, "except for a miscue with one of our pit stops when I was sent back out. I still got on the podium again so that's the main thing. The tires are even better than last year so the season looks good."
On a lighter note, Leo Vince/Foremost Insurance Ducati's Larry Pegram moves from fourth to third place in the final rankings.
We considered whether or not we could do the race in one stop. Fortunately, the team called me in and the bike was running out so I'm glad we did that or we wouldn't have made it. I couldn't ask for anything better really than our fourth-place finish." That was until he finds out that he's been bumped up to third.
The Pegram Racing Team put on an excellent effort with the new Ducati 848 in its debut race and now has a hard-earned Daytona 200 podium finish to add to Pegram's list of accomplishments.
"Ducati is extremely proud of Larry and the Pegram racing team," said Ducati North America's John Paolo Canton after hearing the news. "For them to build a race bike in 45 days and put it on the podium at Daytona is something very special. It was a great start for the 848 Superbike in its first professional race and we are looking forward to the rest of the AMA season!"
Yoshimura Suzuki rider Mat Mladin claimed his 64th career victory in the AMA Superbike final at Daytona.
Yoshimura Suzuki's Mat Mladin and Ben Spies start out the 2008 AMA Superbike season they way they finished off last year, with a 1-2 finish. The Yoshimura squad only had four days of testing the '08 spec machine prior to arriving at Daytona, but they still proved to be the team to beat yet again.
Factory Yamaha's Jason Disalvo starts off his campaign with a third place finish aboard his YZF-R1, followed by Tommy Hayden on the third Yoshimura/Rockstar Suzuki GSX-R1000. The elder Hayden nipped Monster Energy Kawasaki's Jamie Hacking on the final lap for fourth place. Jordan Suzuki's Aaron Yates followed up his Superstock victory on Friday with a sixth in Superbike.
The racing wasn't exactly a barn-burner as Mladin grabbed the holeshot from his pole starting position and proceeded to check out on the way to winning his 64th career AMA Superbike series victory. The six-time champion was smooth and methodical as he put a few seconds on the rest of the field and cruised to victory.
Behind Mladin, his teammate and defending AMA Superbike champ Ben Spies was out-muscled by the competition heading into Turn 1 at the start and had to work his way through the field in the early going. By the time he drafted past Jason Disalvo at the start of the third lap, Mladin was out of reach.
"I got up into second and took a little bit to get a rhythm down," said Spies. "I was pretty happy with how I rode. I just tried
The Yoshimura/Rockstar/Makita Suzuki team dominated the first round of the AMA Superbike series with Ben Spies (left) and Mat Mladin going 1-2.
to stay close in case something happened but it did not work out and second was the best we could do today."
A podium finish for Jason Disalvo is a great way to reward the Yamaha crew for giving him another shot on the R1 superbike this season by getting his first front row start and first career podium finish. With the exception of his early tussle with Spies, Disalvo rode around relatively uncontested, finishing well ahead of fourth place rider Tommy Hayden.
"I was unsure about coming form the outside of the front row, but I got a good start and found myself behind Mat. I had a good race and tried to hang on from there. I want to say thanks to my crew and I am looking forward to finding some more speed."
Monster Kawasaki's Jamie Hacking had his 2008 Kawasaki ZX-10R hauling ass on the high banks, boasting an impressive top speed of 196mph on the new Ninja. Unfortunately, Hacking lost a position to Hayden on the final lap, leaving him in 5th place.
2008 Daytona Superbike Results
1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)
2. Ben Spies (Suzuki)
3. Jason Disalvo (Yamaha)
4. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki)
5. Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki)
6. Aaron Yates (Suzuki)
7. Miguel Duhamel (Honda)
8. Roger Hayden (Kawasaki)
9. Blake Young (Suzuki)
10. Geoff May (Suzuki)
1. Josh Hayes, Honda CBR600RR (Disqualified)
2. Chaz Davies, Kawasaki ZX-6R
3. Steve Rapp, Kawasaki ZX-6R
4. Larry Pegram, Ducati 848
5. Martin Cardenas, Suzuki GSX-R600
6. Richard Cooper, BMW HP2 Sport
7. Brian Parriott, BMW HP2 Sport
8. Bobby Fong, Suzuki GSX-R600
9. Bostjan Skubic, Yamaha YZF-R6
10. Steve Atlas, Honda CBR600RR
Ben Bostrom has truly rode his way to international stardom. After winning the hearts of American race fans, Ben took his show overseas.
Larry Pegram was born in Columbus Ohio and has been racing as a professional since 1988.
All the hard work paid off in 2008 when Jake won his first AMA Superbike series championship by claiming the Formula Xtreme title that has eluded him for all these years.