BEST FINISH OF THE YEAR FOR ULRICH AT HOMESTEAD
September 22, 2012
M4 Suzuki's Chris Ulrich took full advantage of his outstanding qualifying performance at Homeland-Miami Speedway to score a well-earned sixth-place finish in Saturday's AMA Pro Superbike contest.
The Californian got away well from his Row 2 grid slotting and chased hard after the lead group, pulling himself free from a spirited scrap behind him for eighth.
Ulrich continued to dig deep and earned one more position late, taking the checkered flag in sixth position.
As pleased as he was to qualify sixth provisionally on Friday, Chris was even more satisfied to have finished Saturday's race in that same position.
He said, "It's way better. My start was okay and I was able to latch onto the front group and that was the race right there. I was pretty close to the lap times and I could see them for a long time. At about halfway I consolidated the position as the gap behind me continued to increase.
"I stayed on it and was reeling one of the guys back in. I got a little chatter and the bike was sliding around from the start -- it was really difficult but we were able to maintain a good pace. I got to within 1.6 of him and then he made a big mistake. I was looking forward to dicing but after that I took the spot and there was a big gap behind me. I just had to keep putting solid laps in and get home."
The result matches Ulrich's career-best in the premier class, equaling his performance in the 2010 Daytona season opener.
"The key to this weekend was qualifying," Ulrich said. "Usually I'm on the third or fourth row and you get caught up in the guys. I qualified well and raced well. And we'll look forward to tomorrow.
"It took a lot of work to get back to where I am. A little bit of momentum is something I've needed all year. It feels nice to finish a day and know you've done a solid day's work. It feels pretty good."
Meanwhile, Ulrich's M4 Suzuki teammate, Dane Westby, clocked up yet another strong result in Daytona SportBike competition.
Westby raced in sixth position early and turned it up even further as the race progresses, mounting a trademark 'Wolverine' charge. The Oklahoman closed in on the battle for second position and diced for the spot until the final couple of laps where he ultimately settled into a fourth-place finishing position.
Westby continues to control second in the DSB points race on 314 points.
Saturday didn't go as smoothly for Suzuki SportBikeTrackTime.com's Elena Myers or Team Venezuela's Robertino Pietri.
Myers ran in the top ten in the opening laps of the day's SuperSport contest but crashed out of the race while working lap 4 of 18. Pietri, meanwhile, was one spot behind Ulrich in the early stages of the Superbike race but was penalized for anticipating the start. He ultimately finished in 14th.
Team Hammer will be back for more on Sunday at Homestead-Miami Speedway, with Ulrich and Westby looking to build on their strong Saturdays and Myers and Pietri seeking revenge.
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