Mat Mladin showed Ben Spies who’s boss at Infineon, claiming both Superbike wins and evening up the championship.
A quarter of the way through at Lap 7 Mladin was out in front of Spies, with a sizable 3-second gap and the two Yoshimuras matching laptimes as the pair already met up with a lapped rider. Zemke held third, while Duhamel and DiSalvo were putting on a show for fourth-place. Meanwhile the Hayden brothers battled with Bostrom for sixth-place.
At the halfway mark Mladin continued to hold his advantage, with Spies nipping tenths off the lead on one lap only to lose them the next. Zemke was a comfortable third, followed by DiSalvo. Roger Hayden held fifth, with Duhamel itching to get back into the top-five.
Spies shrunk the almost three-second gap to under two on Lap 14, as the two leaders began to encounter serious lapped traffic and Spies was held up losing a half second once again.
With 10 laps remaining, Mladin’s advantage held at two seconds, with Spies desperate to carve into the lead. Hairball overtaking maneuvers by the two Yoshimura pilots provided plenty of nailbiting moments as the laps remaining clicked off. The far distant battle for third saw Zemke getting reeled in by Roger Hayden. Duhamel, DiSalvo, and Tommy Hayden were vying for the final top-five position. Eric Bostrom was 45 seconds behind the leaders.
Try and he might, Spies was unable to gain ground on Mladin with the final podium position very much up for grabs between Zemke and Roger Hayden. The youngest of the Hayden brothers suffered an engine failure on Lap 23, however, spoiling what would have been the best Superbike finish for Kawasaki this season.
In the final laps Mladin put Spies down with an insurmountable lead, breaking his teammate with an almost 10-second gap. When the checkered flag waived, the dominating Aussie earned his 56th career win.
The victory means Mladin and Spies share the points lead at 238, with the cagey veteran giving his young teammate something to think about until Road America in June.
Infineon Sunday Superbike Results:
1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)
2. Ben Spies (Suzuki)
3. Jake Zemke (Honda)
4. Miguel Duhamel (Honda)
5. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki)
6. Jason DiSalvo (Yamaha)
7. Eric Bostrom (Yamaha)
8. James Ellison (Honda)
9. Josh Holden (Suzuki)
10. Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki)
Superbike Championship Points:
1. Mladin – 238
1. Spies – 238
3. Duhamel – 197
4. Zemke – 181
5. T. Hayden – 180