Overnight rains in Atlanta forced AMA officials to adjust the Saturday racing schedule, particularly moving the heated Superbike final to earlier in the afternoon to accommodate for lost time wile the track was drying in the morning. That was fine for championship leader Ben Spies who was awarded pole position based on his early qualifying time along with the point that goes with it.
Mat Mladin:“We were doing our best to just try and eke it out and try to put as much pressure on Ben as possible. He knows that he wants to win the championship a lot more than I do; I’m not that concerned about it. And he knows that you’ve got to win if you’re going to win the championship, so he’s got to get going. That’s made for good racing out there and we look forward to tomorrow. Hopefully we can put on a good show.”
Once racing got underway it was all Yoshimura at the front with Mat Mladin running away with it early on. The race was red flagged on lap six when Ben Spies crashed his GSX-R1000 in turn four while trying to chase his teammate down. Spies was relatively unscathed in the incident and managed to make the restart, although he was forced to start from the last position on the grid because he was the cause of the red flag.
“When I went right to left I think the front wheel barely came off the ground and it just set in that hole or something and it got into a pretty good headshake. It got me in the grass and I started getting sideways and that’s all there was. I fell — it bashed me up in the tank pretty good and it hit my ribs a little bit, nothing bad. At that point… it was pretty bad. I just couldn’t breathe too much but once I got the feeling back it was okay,” Spies said.
Yamaha’s Eric Bostrom grabbed the holeshot on the restart but he couldn’t hold off the hard charging Mladin who took over the lead and started to check out. It is Mladin’s fifth AMA Superbike win in a row and his eleventh victory of the season, tying his own record.
“Before the red flag we had good pace. The lap that Ben crashed we had it up to 0.7 and I knew Ben was very strong at the top there. The couple laps that I followed him through there I knew that he was very strong. But I knew that we were strong also in a few spots,” Mladin said.
Spies definitely put on a championship-caliber effort by charging through the field on the first lap, putting himself inside the top ten before crossing the start finish line. On Lap 8 Spies overtook Yoshimura teammate Tommy Hayden and Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking coming off the back straightaway. As Spies dove inside, Hacking ran too deep into the turn and bumped into Hayden trying to save himself, causing Hayden to crash. Spies continued to charge and was handed second place when Jason Disalvo crashed out on Lap 9.By this time Mladin was already five seconds out front and there was no catching him. Spies salvaged the irreplaceable 32 second place points to go along with his pole point and holds a slim 2-point margin headed into Sunday’s race.
Hacking regained his composure after his run in with Hayden and battled it out with Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates for third place. The two have been swapping third place finishes for the last four races. Hacking edged by Yates late in the race and beat him to the line by .495 seconds It was Hacking’s third appearance on the podium this year.
American Honda’s Jake Zemke took fifth, fending off Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Roger Hayden, who finished sixth.
Fast by Ferracci’s Matt Lynn and Luca Scassa had another good outing. The MV Agusta teammates captured seventh and eighth, respectively, and both finished in the top ten for the second consecutive race. Jordan Suzuki’s Jake Holden was ninth and a remounted Tommy Hayden completed the top ten.
Tomorrow’s race will begin with Spies holding a two-point advantage over Mladin in championship points 583-581. With a win tomorrow, Mladin would break the record for most wins in a single season and tie the mark for consecutive AMA Superbike victories.
AMA Superbike Race 1 Results:
1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)
2. Ben Spies (Suzuki)+6.591
3. Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki)+16.428
4. Aaron Yates (Suzuki)+16.903
5. Jake Zemke (Honda)+21.077
6. Roger Hayden (Kawasaki)+22.948
7. Matt Lynn (MV Agusta)+44.938
8. Luca Scassa (MV Agusta)+53.939
9. Jake Holden (Suzuki)+58.655
10. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki)
Erion Honda’s Josh Hayes isn’t waiting until Laguna Seca for the Formula Xtreme championship to be declared. Hayes defended the crown with his victory at Road Atlanta Saturday, claiming a second consecutive Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme title. Hayes beat Attack Kawasaki’s Ben Attard by 0.412 seconds, claiming his seventh victory in nine races this season.
Hayes only needed a 20th place finish or better, but the Gulfport, Mississippi, native left no doubt about who ruled the Formula Xtreme class this season. It is Hayes third AMA title overall.
“It’s fantastic. This was our game plan from the word go. But after Daytona we were like, ‘uh-oh, what are we going to do?’ But the team came back strong — we came back swinging. Our worst qualifying position has been one second, our worst finish has been one second since then,” Hayes said.
Attard finished second after passing Boulder Motorsports Ducati rider Martin Craggill. The Australian rider has come on strong at the end of the season, finishing second at Mid-Ohio and fourth at VIR. Attard’s second place today helped him move ahead of Aaron Gobert for fourth in the overall point standings with one race left. Cragill claimed a podium spot for the second consecutive race on his Ducati.
Rounding out the top five was Attard’s teammate, Steve Rapp, in fourth, followed by Team M4 EMGO Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas.
After claiming his second consecutive Formula Xtreme title, Hayes said, “It’s a testament to the motorcycle. My team has made my job extremely hard because they’ve given me such a good motorcycle that if we don’t’ win it’s 100% my fault. I felt the pressure and I wanted to make sure I did it right and I rode with all my heart in every race. And it’s awesome to bring it home here in Atlanta in front of all my friends and family who could come out and I have a pretty good fan base here because I’ve been racing here for a lot of years.”
Road Atlanta Formula Xtreme Results:
1. Josh Hayes (Honda)
2. Ben Attard (Kawasaki) +0.412
3. Martin Craggill (Ducati) +1.796
4. Steve Rapp (Kawasaki) +3.517
5. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki) +10.668
6. Chaz Davies (Yamaha) +15.126
7. Larry Pegram (Ducati) +19.440
8. Ryan Anderews (Honda) +22.026
9. Ryan Elleby (Honda) +22.162
10. Cory West (Yamaha) +27.787
Formula Xtreme Point Standings
1. Hayes 324
2. S. Rapp 250
3. L. Pegram 212
4. B. Attard 210
5. A. Gobert 209