Yoshimura Suzuki’s Mat Mladin took advantage of a red flag on Lap 14 to capture the victory in Race 1 on Saturday at Mid-Ohio. The win was Mladin’s seventh of the season and the 58th in the career of the six-time champion. If Mladin wants to win his seventh championship, he’ll need to pretty much run the table in the remaining seven races.
Yoshimura Suzuki’s Mat Mladin fell behind championship points leader Ben Spies after another dismal start but took advantage of a red flag on Lap 14 and the chance to restart even with his rival to ride away with a Race 1 victory Saturday.
Before the red flag, Mladin trailed Ben Spies by 6.539 seconds in what looked like a case of deja vu from the past few weeks. Spies shot out to an early lead and looked certain to notch another win until the red flag gave Mladin a chance to restart alongside Spies. Mladin took advantage of the opportunity, not allowing Spies to jump out to an insurmountable early lead. Mladin was in fourth heading into Turn 1 and after only a few corners was into second place, only 0.917 seconds behind Spies. An inside move on Lap 18 put the Aussie Mladin out in front, where he continued to pull away and cross the checkers 4.806 seconds ahead of Spies.
“I just said to Ben that I’ve been telling everyone that if I can get a start I can race with him. So I got a bit better start. I was only a second down when I got into second place, so I thought, well put my money where my mouth is now and try and get up there. And honestly, I did everything I could to catch him up,” Mladin said.
Spies post-race comments were rather judicious after the red flag on Lap 14 certainly played a part in Saturday’s results.
“It’s happened before and it goes for you and against you sometimes and it kind of messed us up today. That’s all it is. You’ve got to regroup and come out in the second one and we obviously didn’t get it done,” Spies said.
The most exciting battle of the afternoon was the multi-rider contest for third place between American Honda’s Miguel Duhamel, Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Roger Hayden. Yates was pressing Duhamel but the crafty veteran held off the young challeger to claim the final spot on the podium. Yates just missed back-to-back podiums for his Jordan Suzuki team by 0.027 seconds.
“Aaron was showing me a wheel so I just rode as hard as I could. We had a good pace — I did some low ’25s, which for us is okay, and I was able to hold him off. At the end, the last lap I just made sure I covered all my ‘X’s and my ‘O’s and brought the bike home. We had a great race at Laguna Seca and for sure I was thinking this would be a fair trade, ” Duhamel said.
Hayden worked his way into challenging for the final podium spot after pushing past Yamaha USA teammates Eric Bostrom and Jason DiSalvo and American Honda’s Jake Zemke in the later stages of the race. Hayden tried to carry his momentum past Yates and Duhamel but Yates would have none of it, repassing Hayden after the Monster Energy Kawasaki rider had squeezed by him momentarily.
Bostrom beat teammate DiSalvo to the line in sixth by 0.087 seconds, while Zemke crossed the line in eighth place. Rounding out the top ten were Yoshimura Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden in ninth and Corona Extra Honda’s James Ellison in tenth.
AMA Superbike Mid-Ohio Race 1 Results:
1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)
2. Ben Spies (Suzuki) +4.807
3. Miguel Duhamel (Honda) +16.819
4. Aaron Yates (Suzuki) +16.846
5. Roger Hayden (Kawasaki) +17.407
6. Eric Bostrom (Yamaha) +17.597
7. Jason Disalvo (Yamaha) +17.684
8. Jake Zemke (Honda) +19.940
9. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) +29.670
10. James Ellison (Honda) +29.799
Erion Honda’s Josh Hayes showed no residual effects of last week’s Supersport wreck at Laguna, winning by 5.474 seconds over Attack Kawasaki’s Ben Attard in Saturday’s Formula Xtreme race. Hayes became only the second rider to win back-to-back Lockhart-Phillips USA Formula Xtreme races at the Lexington, Ohio circuit. Hayes bumped his overall points lead to 50 points over his nearest competitor Steve Rapp, 249 to 199.
Celtic Yamaha’s Chaz Davies snared the final podium spot, 0.107 seconds behind Attard. It is the second Formula Xtreme race in a row the 20-year-old Davies has finished in third place. Rounding out the top five were Erion Honda’s Aaron Gobert and Larry Pegram aboard his Ducati 749R.
AMA Formula Xtreme Mid-Ohio Results:
1. Josh Hayes (Honda)
2. Ben Attard (Kawasaki) +5.474
3. Chaz Davies (Honda) +5.581
4. Aaron Gobert (Honda) +7.961
5. Larry Pegram (Ducati) +8.313