Saturday morning wasn't as rainy as we thought so by the time we went out for qualifying 2 the track was starting to dry out a little. I felt pretty good with the way the K-Tech suspension felt in the rain and Road Atlanta is actually a pretty grippy track I'm the rain. I came into pit road with a few minutes left to see where I was at. I knew if I could pick up the pace a little I would move up in the standings. But because it was wet I still wouldn't move up on the grid. I went back out and found the best dry line and put in a solid lap on the final lap and ended the session in second. I was happy to know that I would be in a good position in the wet or the dry, I was just ready to get the race going. We had a bit of the day to go and a weather forecast that would leave us unsure of the conditions again. The hours went by and the rain stayed away, leaving a mostly dry track that would be much better suited for Dunlop's DOT tires. I was happy to have a race in the dry but a little worried about how set up would be. We had no chance to try suspension settings so going into the race we had to make an educated guess. Following the super sport race and superpole for superbike, race time had finally arrived.
The horn sounded and the track was open for the sighting lap. Down came the visor and out we went. The track had a few wet spots but it wasn't anything to worry too much about. I pulled up to my grid spot and tried to relax and get focused on the race and getting a solid start. Only problem was I pulled up,to the wrong grid spot and had to take the bike off the tire warmers and stands and move it back a row. Oops. Once that was situated we waited for the warm up lap to start. On the warm up lap the K-tech suspension felt decent and I was confident we would have a good race.
I got an alright start and didn't lose any positions in the chaos that occurs in the first turn. Now that we were settled in I could focus on moving up through the pack and do what we could. Throughout the first half of the race there were many people that were involved in our battle. The prime passing spot seemed to be the back straight away, where riders would use the draft to get by but with our bike being underpowered I could not catch a draft to get by so I'd have to pass in other places. With about 6 laps to go I found myself at the tail end of a pack with three other riders. I had lost a little bit of ground to them while passing another rider but made the time back up within a few laps. I was able to pass into 8th and try to find a spot to pass the racer ahead of me. The only good place I felt like I could make a good pass was coming out turn 10a and 10b. I was getting a better drive and thought I could set up a pass coming into the last turn. The last few laps ticked down and I never got enough ahead to make a pass. Seeing the white flag come out, I knew I would have to make a move somewhere. The rider ahead, Andy Dibrino, was holding me off really well and put in a solid final lap as well. We came around the back straight and into the hard braking zone before 10a and 10b. I did my best to get a good drive but still couldn't get ahead. I thought about trying to dive in hard on the brakes but decided against it because it would leave me open to a counter pass coming out of the corner. The decision paid off, Andy went in really hard on the brakes and went a little wide coming out of the corner, allowing me to drive past him exiting the corner. I crossed the line in 7th and couldn't complain after a hard fought battle all race long. It was a great race and to put in a solid ride was a good way to begin the season. Knowing it would rain for tomorrow's race made having a race on a dry track that much better.