SALT LAKE CITY (May 28) — GEICO/RMR rider Danny Eslick battled cold and wet Utah weather during the first day of professional qualifying for the Big M Weekend at Miller Motorsports Park. Eslick spent time on both his Daytona Sportbike Suzuki and his XR1200 Harley Saturday and was happy to get twice as much track time as usual.
“I like riding both bikes,” Eslick said. “It’s nice to be able to get out there and compete in more than one class. The extra data we gain is valuable.”
The 2009 Daytona Sportbike champion ran well during the morning practice laps and sat second heading into the opening qualifier of the weekend. Although he slowed to seventh in that round, Eslick feels confident heading into raceday.
“This morning started off well,” Eslick said. “We did what we planned by riding some of the momentum from last race here into practice but in qualifying everyone picked up the pace a little bit and we slipped back. We’re seventh but it’s so close in those top spots it’s not a huge deal.
“Plus, putting in one fast lap is one thing but putting in 16 is under race conditions is another story. We’re starting in the second row and that’s not too bad for here because there are so many opportunities to pass on this track.”
The reigning champ in the AMA Pro Vance & Hines XR1200 Series faced a very similar fate in the XR1200 class. He was the second quickest behind teammate Chris Filmore in the first practice session but rain and a slippery track caused Eslick to fall to seventh place in qualifying. The Harley is fun,” Eslick said. “I’m happy to be back on it. I wish we could have gotten up there and done a bit better but the conditions weren’t there and I didn’t want to do anything stupid.
“I’m looking forward to tomorrow. The weather isn’t looking good so we probably won’t improve on our qualifying spot but we should be able to get a solid wet weather tune-up.
“It is cool here because they let us run in the rain. It’s one of the few tracks left where we are able to run in these conditions. Hopefully we’ll find a good wet setup and I’ll feel comfortable for the main events.”
The final qualifying session for Daytona Sportbike will be 8:40 a.m. MDT Sunday followed by the race at 4:10 p.m. MDT. Final qualifying for the XR1200 Series will be at 4:45 p.m.