Nine Bridgestone CSBK riders qualify for Daytona 200 after Friday improvements

The 82nd running of the historic Daytona 200 will feature nine Canadians on Saturday, as a pair of rapid Friday morning qualifying sessions determined the grid spots for each Bridgestone Canadian Superbike Championship rider in attendance.

Ben Young continued his upward trajectory from Thursday afternoon, quickly entering the 1:51 territory to begin Q2 aboard his Team BATTLAX Suzuki. That left the two-time defending CSBK champion just outside a crucial Top-12 Time Attack spot in 14th, but the pace continued to increase throughout the 30-minute session.

That was also true for Warhorse HSBK Ducati debutant Trevor Dion, who jumped to 17th just before the halfway mark and less than two seconds behind his reigning Daytona 200 winning teammate Josh Herrin.

The second half of the session was a far different story, however, as Dion parked his V2 Panigale in pitlane for most of the final 15 minutes while Young continued to hammer out consistent 1:51 lap times aboard his GSX-R750. 

That would end with a last-minute flyer of 1:50.329 for Young, about a quarter-second faster than any time he put together a year ago, but that was still not enough against one of the most loaded Daytona 200 fields in history as he slipped to 19th in Q2.

A blazing time from Group B leader Maximilian Gerardo would later bump Young down to 20th, where he will start the race on Saturday as the top Canadian – albeit just 0.9 seconds off a spot in the crucial Time Attack.

Dion would settle for 30th overall and one spot ahead of Young’s Team BATTLAX Suzuki teammate Trevor Daley, though both riders dipped into the 1:51 mark and actually went faster than the 21st best qualifier from a year ago – an indicator of the immense talent on this year’s 66-rider grid. 

With the trio of Group A riders done for the day, the other six Canadians in the field took to the track in Group B for their Q2 session. That notably didn’t include Alex Coelho, who suffered a leg injury in Q1 on Thursday and will fail to qualify for the event. 

The biggest storyline in Group B was Sebastien Tremblay, who sat provisionally in the top-35 on Thursday but was disqualified from Q1 after failing to go to Parc Ferme. The Turcotte Performance Kawasaki rider made up for it in Q2, registering a best time of 1:53.667 to lead the CSBK riders in the group and put himself 36th overall. 

Just behind him in the session was another pair of Canadians in Sam Guerin and teenager Mavrick Cyr, who will slot in 38th and 39th, respectively, and one place ahead of Brad Macrae, who couldn’t improve his time in Q2 amidst mechanical issues. 

The biggest benefactor of the secondary session was Matt Simpson, who found more than two seconds of improvement to jump up to 46th overall and just a half-second from the top-40 aboard his Evans Racing Yamaha.

Concluding the Canadian contingent was Alex Michel, who found some extra pace of his own in the morning session to put his SpeedFactory67 into 53rd on the grid out of 66 competitors.

The Bridgestone CSBK riders will now await the 57-lap feature Daytona 200 race on Saturday, with only the morning warm-up left to make any last-minute changes before the event kicks off at roughly 2 pm ET. 

Meanwhile, the Top-12 Time Attack shootout saw 18-year-old Tyler Scott take pole position for the Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki team, beating out Stefano Mesa and Bobby Fong in a surprising front row. 

Full coverage of Saturday’s Daytona 200 race can be found on the series’ official website, and can be watched live on MotoAmerica Live+.