While this year's Daytona 200 was a great day for Ducati and its 848 EVO, it left something to be desired for everyone else. The race was blighted by tire issues, a bad final-lap crash that the riders were lucky to walk away from and a controversy stemming from Ducati's win.
The controversy started with a red flag late in the race and a mandatory tire change for all riders. On the same lap, Ducati rider Jason DiSalvo blew a cylinder on his machine. Eventually, race officials decided to re-start around 3:30 and run the rest of the 200 as a 15-lap sprint to the finish. Besides angering fans who paid to see a 200-mile single race and would end up with 147 miles over two races, the delay allowed DiSalvo's team time to change his blown engine.
With permission from the AMA, DiSalvo was back in the race. In the final seconds of the all-out 15-lap sprint to the finish, DiSalvo passed Cory West on a draft to take the win. That wasn't the end, though. Since there had been a red flag, there was some confusion as to who should be crowned the victor.
There was talk of letting the results from the lap before the red flag stand. That would have meant the race ended with Josh Herrin out front, JD Beach in second and Jake Zemke third. Officials decided, however, that since the top six riders had crossed the line before the red flag fell and everyone else was still on the previous lap, the results from the 15-lap sprint would decide the winner.
That meant that Jason Di Salvo, who before the red flag was out of the race, was crowned race winner, followed by Cory West and Jake Zemke. The result was no doubt a great moment for Ducati and DiSalvo, but left the guys who were ahead before the red flag and the fans who saw a shortened race feeling understandably spurned.
Click past the jump for a press release from Ducati celebrating the victory and a video of the closing laps of the 2011 Daytona 200.