2004 SBK VIR Sunday Results

October 10, 2004
By Kevin Duke
Miguel Duhamel rode hard in Race 1 of Sunday’s double-header at VIR, taking the lead of the 28-lap race early. Yoshimura Suzuki’s Aaron Yates gave Duhamel his closest competition and actually led the penultimate lap, only to be passed by the Honda rider on the last lap to finish a tenth of a second behind at the checkers.

Mat Mladin  1  leads his Yosh Suzuki teammate  Aaron Yates  20  and eventual race-winner Miguel Duhamel - VIR
Mat Mladin clinched his unprecedented fifth AMA Superbike title at VIR.

Mat Mladin challenged early in the race, but dropped back to a sixth-place finish after title rival Jake Zemke dropped out. With Zemke out, Mladin secured his record-setting fifth AMA Superbike championship. Zemke, who injured his hand in a crash yesterday, withdrew from the race on the 23rd lap.

“It was a great feeling to have finally got it done, especially as we had to wait those extra three weeks after the round was rescheduled,” said 32-year old Mat Mladin. “It’s been a busy time for us as we have been focused on winning the title this weekend, plus we have already begun our planning for next year and what needs to be done with the new bike.

“This win has definitely been a team effort, above and beyond the usual high efforts that my guys put in,” continued Mladin. “I have to thank each of my crew, Yoshimura and Suzuki themselves for the efforts that were made this year. A couple of months ago the championship was very close, but everyone stepped up and that made it a lot easier to get the results we were chasing. The last round at Road Atlanta was pivotal in winning the championship. We knew we had to do well there so that we could set it up here and fortunately for us we came away with a double race win at Atlanta, which was perfect.

“Today was one of those days where we just focused on what we needed to do to win the championship and let a few of the others chase the race wins and that’s exactly how we played it,” explained the most dominant rider in AMA Superbike series history with 32 wins to his credit. “We got the championship done in the first race and it was a shame to have had to do the stop / go for the jump-start in the second. I was aiming at getting on the podium there and I know I put together a lot of good laps but just missed out on getting the podium. It was a good day though and we’re all very happy with how today and the whole season has gone.”

The original race start was led by Mladin, but a red flag caused by a Larry Pegram crash resulted in a complete restart.

Duhamel’s American Honda teammate Ben Bostrom rounded out the podium, beating World Championship regulars Lorenzo Lanzi and Regis Laconi to the flag. Josh Hayes was the highest-finishing Kawasaki, in seventh, while Suzuki rider Jake Holden backed up his fine fifth-place finish in yesterday’s Superstock race by beating top-10 regular Geoff May and former factory Superbike pilot Mike Smith.

Aaron Yates took the early lead in Race 2 of VIR’s double-header round, while in pursuit of Yates was World Supersport regular Lorenzo Lanzi and World Superbike runner-up Regis Laconi on a pair of Ducatis. The American Honda teammates of Miguel Duhamel and Ben Bostrom gave chase in fourth and fifth.

Mat Mladin jumped the start and was assessed a stop-and-go penalty, dropping him back to about 20 seconds Yates pulled out more than 3 seconds over Duhamel after six laps, while Lanzi, Bostrom and Laconi clung right behind. Mladin had worked his way up to 11th two laps later. Meanwhile, Duhamel put in the quickest lap of the race and closed in on Yates out front, with Bostrom, Lanzi and Laconi a couple of seconds back.

After 10 laps of the 28-lapper, Duhamel set another fast lap and got past Yates to take the lead. Bostrom sat about 4 seconds behind but was gapping the Ducati duo. Mladin had worked his way up to seventh spot after 11 laps, thanks to a blistering 1:25.9 lap, but he remained about 23 seconds behind the fight for the lead and 10 seconds behind sixth-placed Josh Hayes.

After 19 laps, Mladin got himself ahead of Hayes, once again setting the fastest lap of the race. Meanwhile, Bostrom was slipping into the clutches of the Euro Ducati boys. Lanzi’s charge ended on Lap 21 when he dropped out from fourth place with mechanical trouble in his 999R.

With the race coming to a close, Duhamel kept clicking off good laps to have 8 seconds over Yates, with Bostrom unable to close the 3 seconds up to the Georgian. Laconi sat in fourth, but Mladin closed to less than 1 second over the French rider with three laps remaining. With international pride at stake, the Aussie worked his way past Laconi who was struggling with grip from his Michelin tires.

Canadian Duhamel held to a large gap for his second Superbike win of the day, while Yates kept Bostrom a couple of seconds back. Mladin showed the crowd at VIR why he is the 2004 Superbike champ by working his way up to fourth place after his penalty.

Duhamel’s two wins this weekend moved him back into a tie for all-time AMA Superbike wins, but his shot at his third title will have to wait until next season.

Superbike Race 2 Results:
1. Miguel Duhamel (Honda)
2. Aaron Yates (Suzuki)
3. Ben Bostrom (Honda
4. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)
5. Regis Laconi (Ducati)
6. Josh Hayes (Kawasaki)
7. Marty Craggill (Suzuki)
8. Mike Smith (Suzuki)
9. Geoff May (Suzuki)
10. Jeremy Toye (Yamaha)

Superbike Race 1 Results:
1. Miguel Duhamel (Honda)
2. Aaron Yates (Suzuki)
3. Ben Bostrom (Honda
4. Lorenzo Lanzi (Ducati)
5. Regis Laconi (Ducati)
6. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)
7. Josh Hayes (Kawasaki)
8. Jake Holden (Suzuki)
9. Geoff May (Suzuki)
10. Mike Smith (Suzuki)