The Daytona 200 is one of the oldest and most prestigious motorcycle races in the United States. The 80th edition of this iconic race featured plenty of the speed and action that the event has become known for. The 200 currently features Supersport bikes with up to 955 ccs of engine displacement, taking on the high banks of Daytona International Speedway. The Supersport class is the penultimate category of the MotoAmerica Championship, only beneath the Superbike class.
Rain delayed the start of the Daytona 200, but the skies cleared, and the race began two hours later than expected. Josh Herrin, riding for Ducati New York, won pole around the Daytona road course and held the lead during the race’s opening laps. Meanwhile, four-time AMA Superbike Champion Josh Hayes made his way from last place in the 43-bike field into the leading group of 5 riders.
On the eighth lap of the 57-lap race, the race was stopped with a red flag. Jose Lloreda lost control of his bike on the exit of the bus stop chicane. He fell off the bike as it continued out and smashed into the SAFER barrier in NASCAR turn 3. Lloreda was okay, but the destroyed bike scattered debris across the track. I always hold my breath when I see sportbikes racing around Daytona. The high-speed pack racing right up against the speedway walls means that one mistake could lead to a massive incident involving multiple riders.
When the race restarted, Hayes completed his last-to-first speed run. The only thing that could separate the leading pack was pitstops. On lap 19, pole-winner Josh Herrin was preparing to pit, but his Ducati Panigale V2 ran out of fuel. He was able to coast to his pit box. Herrin had difficulties refiring his bike’s engine and re-entered the track outside the top 15 positions.
The 2021 Daytona 200 winner Brandon Paasch on a Triumph Street Triple RS found himself in the leading group near the end of the race. Paasch and the TOBC team gambled by not changing tires to improve their track position. The gamble paid off as Paasch was in the leading group of 4 riders at the finish.
Brandon Paasch won the Daytona 200 after taking the lead on the run to the finish line. He beat runner-up Cameron Petersen by seven-thousands of a second. When asked about the pit stop decision in victory lane, Paasch said, “Honestly, when I came in, I expected to get a new rear tire. And when they were like, ‘No, we’re not changing the tire,’ I about pooped my pants.”