Escalante Takes Provisional Pole For 82nd Running Of The Daytona 200

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Escalante Takes Provisional Pole For 82nd Running Of The Daytona 200Aussie Rookie Troy Herfoss Fastest King Of The Bagger, Rodio Quick In BellissiMoto Twins Cup And Tyler O’Hara Leads Super Hooligan National Championship Qualifying

Vision Wheel M4 ECSTAR Suzuki’s Richie Escalante took a big step towards making up for last year’s crash from the lead in the Daytona 200 by earning provisional pole position on a sunny Thursday afternoon at Daytona International Speedway.

Escalante’s lap of 1:47.833 is a new record and he was the only rider in the 68-rider strong field to lap in the 1:47s. The Tizayuca, Hidalgo, Mexico resident did his best time at the very end and modestly gave credit for the lap to a two-rider draft. Escalante, however, had earlier done a 1:48 lap by himself so his quick pace is obvious.

Escalante hasn’t forgotten last year when he was in a battle with Josh Herrin when the two came together in turn one and Escalante crashed. He’s hopeful of this being a redemption race and he’s determined to make that happen.

“For sure I’m really happy to be back,” Escalante said. “I feel great and the first day was amazing – P1.  I made an amazing lap and I’m happy again to be racing in the 200. After last year I really want to come back and battle for the win again. Now I will keep working for the race. So, thanks to my team, Vision Wheel M4 Suzuki, and to all the fans.”

Escalante’s teammate Tyler Scott, meanwhile, ended up second, just .212 behind Escalante, but his session came to a painful conclusion with a crash in the chicane on his final lap. Scott was in the low 1:48s, with a 1:48.045.

Vesrah Racing’s Hayden Gillim gave the Suzuki GSX-R750 a sweep of the provisional front row with Gillim and his 1:49.301 the third fastest time of the session.

Defending Daytona 200 Champion Josh Herrin was fourth fastest on the Warhorse HSBK Racing Ducati Panigale V2 and just .001 of a second from the front row.

Next up was Wrench Motorcycle’s Bobby Fong in fifth, followed by Attack Performance Progressive Yamaha Racing’s Xavi Forés, Brit Richard Cooper, two-time Daytona 200 winner Brandon Paasch (on another Vision M4 ECSTAR Suzuki), Boulder Motor Sports’ Stefano Mesa and four-time Daytona winner Danny Eslick rounding out the top 10 on the TOBC Triumph.

Escalante Takes Provisional Pole For 82nd Running Of The Daytona 200
Australian Troy Herfoss had never turned a lap of Daytona International Speedway until Thursday morning. On Thursday afternoon he earned pole position with a new lap record in Mission King Of The Baggers qualifying. Photo by Brian J. Nelson

Mission King Of The Baggers – A Quick Study

Just a session after his first go at Daytona International Speedway, Australian Troy Herfoss went from “I’ve never been more scared in my entire life” to an impressive effort in the first qualifying session to earn provisional pole position.

Herfoss and his S&S/Indian Motorcycle-backed Challenger not only earned provisional pole, but he also set a new Mission King Of The Baggers lap record at Daytona International Speedway with his 1:50.017 besting Kyle Wyman’s lap of 1:50.563 from a year ago.

Harley-Davidson Factory Racing’s Kyle Wyman ended up second after leading most of the session, just .180 of a second off Herfoss’s lap. Herfoss’s teammate Tyler O’Hara completed the provisional front row and was the last rider to lap in the 1:50s with his 1:50.599 also under the lap record.

Harley-Davidson Factory Racing’s James Rispoli, RydFast Racing’s Kyle Ohnsorg and Saddlemen/Harley-Davidson’s Travis Wyman rounded out the top 10 on Wednesday.

BellissiMoto Twins Cup – Rodio All Day

Rodio Racing – Powered by Robem Engineering’s Gus Rodio picked up where he left off from his three-win 2023 Twins Cup season that netted him second place in the championship behind Blake Davis on day one at Daytona, with the New Jerseyan earning provisional pole.

Rodio did a fastest lap of 1:56.257 to best Giaccmoto Yamaha Racing’s Dominic Doyle with the South African .342 of a second behind Rodio and .256 ahead of 2023 Junior Cup Champion Avery Dreher and his TopPro Racing Team.

RevZilla/Motul/Vance & Hines Suzuki’s Rocco Landers ended up fourth on the day in his debut on the new GSX-8R. S.E. Composites Racing’s Ed Sullivan rounded out the top five, the crew chief for former Westby Racing Superbike rider Mathew Scholtz.

Mission Super Hooligan National Championship – The Champ’s Day

Last year, Tyler O’Hara won five of eight races en route to the Mission Super Hooligan National Championship and he looks like he’s ready to double down on that. O’Hara and his S&S/Indian Motorcycle FTR1200 was over a second quicker than his closest competition while earning provisional pole position on Friday afternoon at the Speedway.

O’Hara’s 1:52.781 put him over a second ahead of the Saddlemen/Harley-Davidson Pan America ridden by Cory West with O’Hara’s new teammate Troy Herfoss ending up third on his first day at Daytona International Speedway.  West’s two teammates, Travis Wyman and Jake Lewis, were fourth and fifth, respectively.