Team Hammer Releases Martin Cardenas
AMA Pro Racing’s Team Hammer has released Martin Cardenas from his contract to allow the reigning AMA Daytona Sportbike Champion “to better pursue his goal of returning to World Championship competition as soon as possible.” Though the eventual goal appears to be for Cardenas to move up to the World Superbike Championship, rumors have Cardenas landing with the Yoshimura Suzuki factory team to race in the AMA Superbike Championship in 2013 as an eventual stepping stone towards international racing.
Cardenas won the 2010 and 2012 AMA Daytona Sportbike championships with Team Hammer riding a Suzuki GSX-R600. Team Hammer held a contract option for Cardenas for the 2013 season but decided to release the Colombian racer, allowing him to take a different route towards a WSBK career. The next step in that route is a ride in the AMA Superbike Championship. Cardenas last competed in the Superbike class in 2011, finishing fourth overall with one race victory.
“We recognize that Martin’s heart is set on racing in the Superbike World Championship, and that the best way to help Martin achieve his goal is to allow him to take advantage of another opportunity now,” says John Ulrich, owner of Team Hammer. “We wish him well, and appreciate the outstanding job he did on our motorcycles. All we can say now is, ‘Thank You, Martin!'”
Team Hammer did not mention where Cardenas is headed but Cycle News reports he will likely sign with the Yoshimura Suzuki team to ride the GSX-R1000 in the Superbike class. Nothing official has been announced, but Cycle News’ report is likely to be accurate considering Ulrich is a former editor of the publication and would have inside knowledge of Cardenas’ career trajectory.
“First of all I would like to thank John and Chris Ulrich and all their family for giving me the opportunity to race in the AMA Pro Championship with an amazing team and mechanics who helped me win races and championships. It’s been a great six years working with John, Chris and the M4 and GEICO Suzuki teams, everything has been perfect and I will always be especially grateful for the opportunity given to me,” says Cardenas. “Now I am starting a new chapter in my career, to race again in Superbike. I am very happy and excited to start this new season, and hoping for very good results. I will give 100 percent of my effort to do the best I can and try to achieve great things. Thanks again to everyone who has helped me get to where I am right now, because I wouldn’t be here without the opportunity that John and Chris Ulrich and their teams gave me.”
Yoshimura Suzuki fielded Blake Young and Chris Clark last season. In December however, the team released Young despite the fact he finished second overall to Yamaha’s Josh Hayes in the 2012 AMA Superbike Championship. Young’s release opens up a spot for a new rider with someone like Cardenas’ credentials, experience with Suzuki race bikes and hopes of eventually moving up to international racing.