Warhorse HSBK Ducati NYC’s Josh Herrin earned pole position for tomorrow’s 80th running of the Daytona 200, giving Ducati its first pole at Daytona International Speedway since Eric Bostrom did so on a Ducati 999 in 2004.
Herrin nabbed pole position with his 1:50.088 lap during the 15-minute Time Attack session that featured the fastest 12 riders after the two qualifying sessions.
“I came here two years ago and obviously it wasn’t a MotoAmerica race then, but we got pole, then we got it taken away and then the race got cancelled so it was a big bummer,” a happy Herrin said. “For me I’ve always wanted to get pole because from a young age if you got pole here, you got the Rolex. I won the race and didn’t get the Rolex and didn’t get pole back then. It was super important for me to try and get it on pole… just for confidence and to get those guys thinking a bit about us having speed, especially without a draft. I was looking for the draft that whole lap and couldn’t get it, so I just put my head down and pushed extra hard in the infield and was able to get it. I’m happy to get it, happy for the HSBK Warhorse Ducati team and to put the V2 up on pole. I’m ready for the race tomorrow.”
Herrin’s best on his Ducati Panigale V2 was just .010 of a second faster than SYNTAINICS Racing team’s Sheridan Morais, the South African doing a one-off ride in the MotoAmerica series on his team’s Yamaha YZF-R6.
Attack Performance Yamaha’s Jake Gagne will join Herrin and Morais on the front row, the 2021 MotoAmerica Superbike Champion clocking a 1:50.405.
Defending Daytona 200 Champion Brandon Paasch and his TOBC Racing Triumph will lead the second row where he will be joined by Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante and Attack Performance Yamaha’s Cameron Petersen.
TOBC Racing Triumph’s Danny Eslick, Max Angles Racing Team’s Max Angles, BobbleHeadMoto/N2 Racing’s Kevin Olmedo and Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Geoff May rounded out the top-10 qualifiers for tomorrow’s Daytona 200.
Mission King Of The Baggers
The 2022 Mission King Of The Baggers Championship started its season with the Big Twins competing for the first time ever at Daytona International Speedway. And, on the first day of racing, the series also had another first: the Mission King Of The Baggers Challenge, which was a three-lap dash-for-cash with a $5000 prize going to the winner. Mission Foods/S&S Cycle/Indian Challenger Team’s Tyler O’Hara made a classic Daytona last-lap move and drafted past both H-D Screamin’ Eagle Road Glide teammates Travis and Kyle Wyman to win the Challenge.
Ironically, O’Hara made almost the same exact pass on the final lap of the eight-lap Mission King Of The Baggers race one, and he passed the same two riders, Travis and Kyle Wyman, who finished second and third, respectively.
“There were areas where I was stronger than them, and areas where they were stronger than me,” O’Hara said. “Hats off to both these guys. They rode awesome. I have the utmost respect for both of them. They race hard and clean. Kyle’s (Wyman) bag opened up on the last lap. I was looking at his bag. Waiting if something was going to fly out of there and maybe slow him down a little bit. Just getting to be where I was in the race, honestly coming out of six on the last lap I did not know if I had enough to make it happen. These things punch such a big hole in the air, it’s like drafting a car. Then they pulled out and went side by side. I went into the bus stop and went in there super deep, and then got pretty close to Travis (Wyman). Kyle, the last lap he ripped through there. I was like, ‘Oh, boy. Here we go. I don’t think I’ve got this.’ Then, basically, thank God there was a huge headwind and crosswind. I had enough run to where I could just keep momentum. I pulled right off of Travis and just was able to lead the last lap. It was really everything I had to make it happen. This race in particular, I really didn’t know what to expect, just with kind of where we were at the test. I knew we had some work to do. We had to find something. We brought Jeremy McWilliams onto the team, and he’s just the most articulate and best partner, teammate you can have for developing this bike. So, we took some major steps. Even yesterday in the first practice, Kyle was ripping, and I was like, ‘Oh, boy. I’m three-and-a-half seconds back. I’ve got to figure something out,’ because I just wasn’t comfortable. I was out there riding around just going for it. I’ve got to thank my whole team. To be representing the Indian Motorcycle brand, America’s first motorcycle company, it’s just such a legendary, iconic brand. I want to thank Daytona for giving us this opportunity and MotoAmerica and everybody. It’s like a dream.”
With 35 riders taking to the grid and first-time Daytona competitor Ben Gloddy on the pole and aboard his Robem Engineering Aprilia, Twins Cup race one was poised to bring the action… and it certainly did.
The battle at the front came down to an Aprilia versus Yamaha sprint, and 15-year-old N2 Racing/BobbleHeadMoto rider Blake Davis took the lead. Despite the fact that being at the front on the final lap of a race at Daytona can sometimes make you susceptible to be draft-passed before the finish line, combined with the added pressure that Davis had never raced on the high banks before, the youngster kept himself clear of his pursuers and took the checkered flag for his first-ever MotoAmerica race win.
“At first I didn’t have the pace and they just kept getting away from me, and I’d have to draft back up to them on the straight,” Davis said. Then I started getting into my groove. I think I got a little nudge in turn six, and it kind of threw me off a little bit. I had to catch back up. Just kept having a few little moments, then I got calmed down and started working my way to the front. I tried to stay in the top four or five for a few laps. Then the last two or three laps, I was just trying to put my head down and get a gap. I don’t think I really got much of a gap, but it feels really amazing to be up here. Can’t thank everyone enough.”
Second place went to Gloddy’s Robem Engineering Aprilia teammate Teagg Hobbs, and Rodio Racing/Warhorse HSBK Racing Aprilia’s Anthony Mazziotto finished third after emerging mostly unscathed from a hair-raising moment out on the Daytona banking. Mazziotto got too close to the wall, made contact, rode partially up the wall, then shot across the track and made contact with two other riders. Miraculously, neither Mazziotto nor the other two riders went down, and the New Jerseyan was able to recover and round out the podium.
Roland Sands Design’s Super Hooligan
Roland Sands Design’s Super Hooligan National Championship concluded the day’s racing with their first event of the season, and KTM/DiBrino Racing’s Andy DiBrino got the win after starting on the pole. Notably, it was the Washington State resident’s first visit to Daytona International Speedway. He was bookended on the podium by Indian riders Cory West (Saddlemen/Lloyd’z Garage) in second and Tyler O’Hara (Roland Sands Design) in third.
DiBrino barely nipped West at the finish line by .077 of a second, and O’Hara was only .272 of a second behind West.
“It’s my first time here,” DiBrino said. “I did my best watching some videos and talking to folks. I’ve got two of the best guys in Daytona right here. Tyler, I was watching some XR1200 stuff with him. Obviously, Cory (West), he’s been up there before. It was a tall order to go up against these guys. They’ve got a lot of experience. Honestly, I think it was just a little bit of luck. I couldn’t break away from Cory, so I just kind of tried to ride smart. I had somewhat of a plan that last lap, but it was also just a gamble. It could have been any one of us. I’ve just got to give a big thank you to KTM USA, Eric, my mom and dad, my girlfriend, Motul, MotoSport.com. Just a lot of people stepping up to help me. I have some great support, but I worked my butt off to be here, and I’m just super thankful.”