In what can only be described as a close-fought race, privateer Jason DiSalvo and Team Latus Motors Racing took the new Ducati 848EVO to victory in the Daytona 200. This was the new bike's first professional roadrace.
The 2011 season-opener at Daytona International Speedway had great potential for Ducati even before the green flag dropped. The 848EVO appeared to be the weapon of choice for the Daytona Sportbike class, with seven examples entered. This was the most Ducatis on the 200 grid in over ten years.
"I really want to thank the Latus Ducati guys for all their work in the pits. I'm so happy I can give Ducati its first Daytona 200 win on my first race with the bike, as well as the 848EVO's first ever AMA race!
It's a magical thing and I'm excited to fight for the championship as the season goes on," said DiSalvo.
DiSalvo's victory places him among legendary riders in Ducati's long racing history. The 848EVO proved to be the bike which accomplished one of Ducati's biggest wins in its US racing history, and the company will now set its sights on the 2011 season championship.
Despite the race being stopped to mandate a compulsory tire change following a high-speed crash by Danny Eslick, DiSalvo's Ducati was always in the leading pack of riders.
He had pulled out of the race just before it was stopped, and the organizers allowed his team to replace the broken engine during the red flag period.
After the restart of the shortened race, DiSalvo slowed when he thought the Ducati was suffering with another problem. But once satisfied that everything was working, the rider went on to draft past the other riders and take the Daytona 200 win by a narrow margin.
The 848EVO's next race will take place at California's Infineon Raceway May 13-15th.