The story leading up to the opening round of the 2013 AMA Pro National Guard Superbike season was whether anyone would be able to keep up with defending champion Josh Hayes. After all, the Monster Energy Graves Yamaha rider dominated the competition last season winning 16 of 20 races including a string of 10 in a row.
The season-opening round at Daytona International Speedway appeared to start on script with Hayes qualifying in pole position. But when the real racing began, the plot began to veer off course for Hayes due to mechanical problems.
Hayes was off to a good start in Race 1, but he may have pushed too hard for the lead, damaging his clutch. Hayes slowed down considerably on Lap 5, ceding the lead to his teammate Josh Herrin with Yoshimura Suzuki‘s Martin Cardenas close behind. Cardenas was a close second just 0.135 seconds behind. Formost Insurance Pegram Racing‘s Larry Pegram finished 7.539 seconds back on his Yamaha R1 to complete the podium.
Race 2 started with Hayes again taking the holeshot while Herrin and Cardenas battled close behind him. Hayes held the lead until getting passed by Cardenas on Lap 8 but was later able to regain the lead.
The three riders remained in close formation until problems afflicted both Yamaha riders. Herrin made a mistake on the first corner of Lap 11, suddenly getting stuck in neutral while running in second place behind Hayes. The mistake cost him considerable ground, dropping him well back of Hayes and Cardenas. Things fell apart for Hayes on the following lap however, when the engine on his R1 failed.
With his two main antagonists hindered by two separate problems, Cardenas coasted to victory more than 11 seconds ahead of Herrin who outdueled Pegram on the final lap to finish second.
|2013 AMA Superbike Daytona Race 1 Top Five Finishers|
|1||Josh Herrin||Yamaha YZF-R1||–|
|2||Martin Cardenas||Suzuki GSX-R1000||+0.135|
|3||Larry Pegram||Yamaha YZF-R1||+7.539|
|4||Danny Eslick||Suzuki GSX-R1000||+11.473|
|5||Chris Clark||Suzuki GSX-R1000||+23.101|
|2013 AMA Superbike Daytona Race 2 Top Five Finishers|
|1||Martin Cardenas||Suzuki GSX-R1000||–|
|2||Josh Herrin||Yamaha YZF-R1||+11.453|
|3||Larry Pegram||Yamaha YZF-R1||+11.487|
|4||Roger Hayden||Suzuki GSX-R1000||+17.510|
|5||Danny Eslick||Suzuki GSX-R1000||+17.578|
[Source: AMA Pro Racing]