Saturday’s Superbike Race 1 saw another Rockstar Makita Yoshimura Suzuki one-two-three podium domination with Spies taking the win by a margin of more than 20-seconds over his teammate and championship nemesis Mat Mladin. Tommy Hayden captured the final podium position after passing American Honda’s Neil Hodgson on Lap 22.
“It was good race,” said Spies. “We got a good start and I put my head down for the first few laps. I saw that I had a little gap on Mat and I started getting nervous. I knew he was riding pretty hard. I made a couple of mistakes and I could feel him back there. I wanted him to lead so I could see where I was slow.”
At the start of the 28-lap race, Spies used his pole starting position to holeshot his GSX-R1000 into Turn 1. Trailing the Texan was Mladin, Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates and the factory Yamaha’s of Jason DiSalvo and Eric Bostrom.
Spies immediately opened a small gap over the rest of the field, however Mladin quickly countered, upping his pace and the two riders turned an identical 1’23.778 time on Lap 4. The following lap saw Mladin right on the back tire of Spies looking for a way past.
A few laps later Mladin saw the opportunity he was looking for and made an inside pass on Spies into Turn 1. Meanwhile Hodgson motored his CBR1000RR past DiSalvo for fourth place.
Hodgson continued to keep his head down and set his sights on Yates’ Suzuki. The former World Superbike champ made his way past Yates, however the Georgian didn’t let Hodgson pull any gap.
Out front, Spies looked to make a move on Mladin going into Turn 1, but a lapper in front of him balked his attempt. A few turns later Spies and Mladin were side-by-side under heavy braking going into Turn 12 . The Suzuki ace’s came close to touching but didn’t, however Mladin was pushed wide, clipping the candy curb striping. Mladin managed to keep it upright but lost touch of Spies.
“He just pulled away,” said Mladin. “I’ve got some excuses if you want to hear some, but he [Spies] was riding too good today.”
Yates continued to shadow Hodgson for third place and went past him on Lap 15. Unfortunately the very next lap Yates crashed. He quickly remounted but would lose touch of the front runners.
That made it that much easier for Hayden to march from behind. Hayden, who was circulating in fourth place caught up to Hodgson’s Honda and was looking for a way past. Hayden continued to trail Hodgson for a few laps and finally executed a pass on Lap 21, but Hodgson would instantly retaliate. An undeterred Hayden made another pass going into Turn 1 and this time it would stick allowing the Suzuki rider to nab the third podium position.
“I definitely didn’t get the start I wanted,” said Hayden. “I just put my head down and tried to be patient. It’s hot and slippery out there but our bike was really good over race distance.”
AMA Superbike Race 1 Saturday Results:
1. Ben Spies (Suzuki)
2. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)
3. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki)
4. Neil Hodgson (Honda)
5. Eric Bostrom (Yamaha)
6. Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki)
7. Miguel Duhamel (Honda)
8. Jason DiSalvo (Yamaha)
9. Matt Lynn (Honda)
10. Jake Holden (Honda)
Superbike Race 2
Rockstar Makita Yoshimura Suzuki’s Ben Spies doubled at Auto Club Speedway in Southern California with a last lap, draft pass on his teammate Mat Mladin. Spies took the Race 2 checkered flag by the slimmest of margins. How slim? 0.011 seconds.
“That was a tough race,” said Spies. “Man I just couldn’t make any inroads he was riding around really good. The last 10 laps I was just out of control. I couldn’t believe how fast we were riding out there. I was just yoking the juice. Every time I could get it wide open I would. I was just trying to go as fast as I can.”
Mladin looked to be the winner early on even though the gap between the front two leaders was never more than three seconds. At the start of the race it was Mladin who grabbed the holeshot aboard his GSX-R1000. Behind would be his chief rival and teammate Spies, Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates, factory Yamaha’s Eric Bostrom, and the remaining Rockstar teammate Tommy Hayden.
Yates was the first rider to crash when he lowsided on Lap 3. He quickly remounted and rode his Suzuki back into the pits for repairs. Yates crash moved Bostrom into third position with Hayden and American Honda’s Neil Hodgson in hot pursuit.
Hayden finally made a move past Bostrom on Lap 12 going into Turn 1, while Hodgson again blew though the chicane that has been causing him problems all weekend. Hodgson quickly rejoined the race but narrowly missed a collision with DiSalvo.
Hodgson regained his composure and drafted past both factory Yamahas on Lap 15. This left Bostrom and DiSalvo to duke it out between themselves with both riders swapping positions through the Turn 5 horseshoe.
By Lap 23, Mladin had over a 3-second gap on Spies, but the following lap showed Spies beginning to take a chunk out of leaders time advantage.
“I made a couple of mistakes,” Mladin said. “In the end it ended up being costly. I felt him [Spies] get in the draft and I knew it was going to be close one.”
Spies continued to reel in Mladin by just a few tenths of a second per lap and on the final lap Spies was all over the rear tire of Mladin. Spies looked like he was going to try and make a pass under braking going into Turn 9, but wasn’t quite close. As the two made their way around the final corner, both Suzuki’s got a fantastic drive but Spies stayed behind in the draft and pulled out of the slipstream right before the line to take the win over Mladin. Hayden cross the line in third place, 31 seconds behind his Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammates.
“We made some changes over night and we had a better pace today,” said Hayden. “All around–the race was a lot smoother for me. It feels good to have some momentum on our side. We’ve got to keep plugging away.”
AMA Superbike Race 2 Sunday Results:
1. Ben Spies, Suzuki
2. Mat Mladin, Suzuki
3. Tommy Hayden, Suzuki
4. Neil Hodgson, Honda
5. Jason DiSalvo, Yamaha
6. Eric Bostrom, Yamaha
7. Jamie Hacking, Kawasaki
8. Scott Jensen, Suzuki
9. Matt Lynn, Honda
10. Dean Mizdal, Suzuki
Superstock Race Report – Corona Goes Big!
In Sunday’s 17-lap Superstock race it was Corona Honda’s Jake Holden who took the win after a race long battle with Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates, and Roadracingworld.com’s Robertino Pietri.
The race was originally red flagged on Lap 3 when Roadracingworld.com’s Santiago Villa crashed. Villa was transported to a local hospital and wouldn’t make the race start.
On the restart it was Yates with the holeshot followed by Pietri, M4 EMGO Suzuki’s Blake Young, Yates’ Jordan Suzuki teammate Geoff May, Holden, and the recently un-retired Jason Pridmore.
Pietri moved past Yates for the lead in the initial part of the race. Pietri, however couldn’t pull much of a gap on the pack of 1000cc bikes behind him. On Lap 3, May received the meatball flag for a jumped start and was forced to return to the pits for a stop-and-go penalty.
Meanwhile, Holden was on the move and made a pass on Young during braking going into Turn 9. Holden would shadow Yates for the next two laps, looking for away around Yates’ GSX-R1000. And he would find that opportunity on Lap 9, when he passed Yates on the brakes into the Turn 1 chicane.
Holden set his sights on Pietri and within a few turns was right on the back tire of the Pirelli-shod rider. Coming out of the Turn 5 horseshoe, Holden made a pass on Pietri, but Pietri immediately retaliated back by Holden’s Honda. However, Holden wouldn’t be deterred and made a pass that would stick going into Turn 9, bringing Yates along with him.
With Pietri fading slightly, Young made a pass good for the final podium position.
“I wanted to conserve my tires the best I could,” said Young. “When Jake came by me I knew I wanted to go with him, but I made a mistake in the back section and went off the track.”
Out front though the battle for the lead continued when Yates and Holden were side-by-side going into Turn 9. Yates made a pass on the inside, but Holden would re-pass on the very next corner and would hold off Yates to the checkered flag. The win would be the second of Holden’s career and a first-ever for Honda.
“It was a good race,” said an elated Holden. “Robertino got out front and those guys took off. The new ’08 CBR1000RR made it so much easier to ride around the track. It turns side to side really good. We haven’t had a lot of time on the bike. Hopefully we’ll figure it out a little more and be on the winner circle a bit more. Aaron didn’t make it easy for me. I didn’t think I was going to get around all those guys. I paced myself and picked one rider at a time. I knew I could run a faster pace.”
AMA Superstock by Dynojet Race Results:
1. Jake Holden, Honda
2. Aaron Yates, Suzuki
3. Blake Young, Suzuki
4. Robertino Pietri, Suzuki
5. Jason Pridmore, Suzuki
6. Chris Peris, Suzuki
7. Chris Ulrich, Suzuki
8. Scott Jensen, Suzuki
9. Geoff May, Suzuki
10. David Anthony, Suzuki
AMA Superstock by Dynojet Championship Points:
1. Yates, 106
2. Holden, 88
3. Ulrich, 80
4. May, 75
5. Jensen, 66