DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Cameron Petersen had never seen Daytona Int’l Speedway and he hasn’t raced a 600cc middleweight motorcycle in seven years, but it didn’t stop him from emerging from a day of ever-changing weather to record the fastest lap on Thursday in preparation for Saturday’s 80th running of the Daytona 200.
Attack Performance Yamaha’s Petersen lapped the 3.56-mile road course in 1:50.544 to nab provisional pole position for Saturday’s 200 on his Yamaha YZF-R6. Petersen led a South African one-two on Thursday with Syntainics Racing Team’s Sheridan Morais ending the session in second, just .310 of a second behind. Squid Hunter Yamaha’s Josh Hayes was the last rider in the 1:50s as he completed the provisional front row with a 1:50.956.
“It’s a trip, honestly,” Petersen said of his first time lapping the high banks of Daytona. “My first session out, I left the pits with all the fast guys and the first thing they did was go to the top of the bank, so I went up there with them. It took me a good two laps to hold it wide open through there. It’s a bit of a trip. Honestly, it’s just so fun. I’m having so much fun around this place. It’s so much fun.”
Petersen was obviously surprised at taking provisional pole on his first day at the Speedway.
“I came in and I know that they’ve had some issues with timing and scoring and stuff today, so I came in and saw my number at the top of the board,” Petersen said. “I was just like… something’s wrong, Even Richard (team owner, Stanboli) said, ‘There’s no way, there’s no way you’re quickest.’ They confirmed it and I still can’t believe it. I just put myself in the right place and got the perfect lap and the perfect tow behind Shez (Morais). It was good and I’m looking forward to the rest of it.”
Josh Herrin, the 2010 Daytona 200 winner, made his Warhorse HSBK Ducati NYC debut at the Speedway today and ended the qualifying session in fourth just ahead of the defending Daytona 200 champion Brandon Paasch and his TOBC Triumph teammate Danny Eslick, with the four-time Daytona 200 winner ending the day in sixth.
BobbleHeadMoto/N2 Racing’s Kevin Olmedo, Attack Performance Yamaha’s Jake Gagne, and Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki teammates Geoff May and Samuel Lochoff rounded out the top 10.
The Mission King Of The Baggers class was rained out of its first qualifying session, but that was after defending series champion Kyle Wyman led morning practice over his H-D Screamin’ Eagle factory teammate and brother, Travis Wyman.