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Cardenas a preseason favorite for more Daytona SportBike glory

 

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DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (March 12) — The most successful rider in Daytona SportBike class history — Martin Cardenas — will be racing for more records and another championship aboard the GEICO Suzuki beginning at this weekend’s Daytona 200 at Daytona International Speedway.

Cardenas secured the Daytona SportBike title in 2010 by winning nine of the 18 races on the schedule before moving to Superbike last season. He did well on the bigger motorcycles also, taking a rare rookie victory in three podium finishes and being named the SPEEDTV.com AMA Pro Road Racing Rookie of the Year.

But now he’s back in the class where he’s won a record 16 times, looking for more trophies as part of a superstar assault from Chris Ulrich Racing and Team Hammer.

“I’m excited to get started,” Cardenas said from his home in Medellin, Columbia. “We recently tested the GEICO Suzuki and it felt fantastic to get back on the bike and work with my new crew. We tested some new parts for the bike and I believe we are ready for the 200.”

Cardenas and the rest of the Daytona SportBike pros will hit the 3.5-mile, 12-turn course for the first time at noon and 3:55 p.m. Thursday with a pair of practice sessions. The action then shifts to qualifying rounds at 8:45 a.m. and 1:10 p.m. Friday, which will set the field for Saturday’s main event, scheduled to begin at 1 p.m.

“This is a big race for many reasons,” Cardenas said. “It’s the first race of the year so you want to start strong and limit your mistakes. This is very important at Daytona because we have pit stops during the race. That makes it unique. It will be a challenging race, but we will try to put in a strong performance.

“Fortunately, this team has been together for a long time and they are very professional. They know how to win. I don’t anticipate any problems. We are prepared for success.”

This is the first race for Cardenas and Chris Ulrich Racing with sponsorship from GEICO, an industry leader with deep roots in the motorcycle insurance market.

“GEICO has built a championship pedigree in motorsports and we have every intention of continuing its success,” Ulrich said. “Our technical partners at Team Hammer have given us all the tools we need to be successful in the Daytona 200. It give us great pride to arrive at Daytona with GEICO on the side of our transporter, on our uniforms and on Martin’s bike.

“Daytona is a special place. Winning the biggest race in America would be a great accomplishment for Martin and the team. We are prepared and looking forward to the challenge. Adding incentive to do well is the fact we will have lots of folks from GEICO corporate in town and we know the eyes of the motorcycle world will be on us. We are up for the challenge and I look forward to watching Martin do what he does best.”

SPEED TV will carry the Daytona 200 live.

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