Competitive Pace for Fillmore Garners Mixed Results
AMA Daytona Sportbike - Sonoma, CA
Chris Fillmore entered the AMA Infineon Raceway weekend with no experience of the fast, sweeping, technical track found in Sonoma, CA. However, Fillmore was able to quickly get up to speed at the facility and show promising potential for the remainder of the season.
Fillmore arrived early to Sonoma so that he could take part in a pre-event open lapping session. The session allowed him to learn the track and find a number of places on track that he would work to maximize his pace as the weekend progressed. Once into the race weekend, Fillmore took a measured approach in qualifying that garnered a 17th in qualifying aboard his 2009 Graves Motorsports Yamaha R6. While this was not as far up as Chris would have liked to qualify, he knew that he had an opportunity to re-qualify on Saturday morning. In this second session, Fillmore attacked harder and this allowed him to move to 13th for the start of the event.
On Saturday, Race 1 found Chris attacking from the start of the event. From his inside seventh row starting position, Fillmore quickly moved toward the top 10. Chris and his mechanic Geoff Cesmat spent time in practice getting the Yamaha to work well under braking. Chris was able to use the brakes to great effect in a number of passes during Race 1. In the end, Fillmore, like at Barber, found himself in a group with Damian Cudlin, Roger Hayden, and Michael Beck fighting it out for 9th -- 12th. Fillmore earned a first top ten in 2009 in 10th.
For Sunday, Fillmore and Cesmat set the bike up for the same type of race tactics for Race 2 as in Race 1. At the start, Fillmore once again leapt from the seventh row and quickly moved into the top 10. However, nine laps into the 22-lap event, Fillmore lost grip in the front end and the event came to a premature conclusion. It was unfortunate as Fillmore was already into the top ten and looking to better his result from Saturday.
After moving close to the top ten in points in 12th after Saturday, Fillmore finds himself in 14th at the conclusion of the race weekend in Daytona Sportbike points. This is a very positive points position if the lack of participation at the opening round in Daytona is considered.
Fillmore had this to say about the weekend, "I came to the race this weekend and wanted to learn the track and continue to improve my bike. Geoff and I found a good balance for the race and once I got into a rhythm I was able to go really deep on the brakes. I am not sure what happened in race two that put me out. I was coming through the uphill esses early in the lap and the front went away. It was too bad as I got a good start and was feeling good about my early pace in the race."
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