The Auto Club Speedway American Superbike Race 2 was the same 1-2 song and dance and Race 1 – Mat Mladin beating teammate Tommy Hayden
Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Mat Mladin claimed victory in the second American Superbike race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. The dominating AMA Superbike veteran extended his winning streak to three in the new American Superbike series, besting his teammate Tommy Hayden and third-place rider, Ducati’s Larry Pegram.
A red flag incident marred the beginning of the second Fontana American Superbike contest, but once things got underway it was no surprise that the pole position-winning Mladin was leading the pack. The usual front-runner was followed close by teammate Hayden and fellow GSX-R1000 riders, Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates and Geoff May.
The second-place Hayden started closing on Mladin, however, with the two Rockstar Makita Yoshimura Suzukis opening up a gap on the remaining riders of about a half-second per lap. The two Suzukis up front left Yates, May and Yamaha’s Ben Bostrom to contest the remaining top-five positions.
Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates was fighting for a podium in the first half of the second American Superbike race, but fell to an eventual 10th.
Hayden managed to break up the Mladin pleasure cruise by taking the lead on Lap 7, but by Lap 10 it was business as usual – Mladin in the front position and getting ready to check out. With a half-second lead, the six-time AMA Superbike champ then put his head down and opened up a sizable multi-second gap over Hayden and motored to the finish unchallenged.
“We ran a little bit hotter pace today and it was a very good race overall for Rockstar Makita Suzuki,” said Mladin after his third win of the young 2009 season. “It’s great to have Suzuki up here on top again with first- and second-place finishes. The Rockstar Makita Suzuki crew can take most of the credit for that. I show up for the weekend and have a great motorbike to race in the Suzuki GSX-R1000.”
Behind the leaders, the Jordan Suzuki riders, Yates and May, began to fade – but Ducati’s Larry Pegram surged. In the final laps the 1098R rider had moved through the ranks and was tussling with May for the final rostrum position, eventually nipping Saturday’s third-place rider by a mere 0.213 at the finish.
“I wasn’t expecting to get on the box today, really. I just wanted to go out there and get some points and try to salvage the weekend, so getting on the box made it nice,” said Pegram. “I just rode around at what I felt like was a comfortable pace and started catching the guys in front of me. I just started picking the guys off—get right on them and draft them up the front straightaway. My bike had good steam, and just one by one went by them.”
Mladin’s advantage over Hayden at the line was more sizable, at just under nine seconds. But the eldest of the racing Hayden brothers has proven at Fontana that Mladin will have to earn his wins.
“It was shaping up to be a pretty good race, battling with Mat,” said Hayden. “I got on the front straightaway and missed a couple gears. Overall, the Suzuki GSX-R1000 was very good. I had some issues with grip today, so it was a little harder for me to run with Mat. He had his head down today. It was a good weekend with two secondplace finishes. I got a little momentum going into Road Atlanta, and we’ll try to keep up what we’ve been doing.“
Following Pegram and May on the results sheet were Yamaha’s Ben Bostrom and Josh Hayes, although Hayes was almost 20 seconds off his teammate’s pace. The remaining top 10 was filled by GSX-R1000 riders, including the third Rockstar Makita Suzuki, Blake Young (ninth) and Jordan Suzuki’s Yates (10th).
American Superbike Fontana Race 2 Results:
American Superbike Race 2 podium featured the top two Rockstar Makita Suzukis, with Larry Pegram getting the Ducati 1098R up on the steps in third.
1. Mladin (Suzuki)
2. Hayden (Suzuki)
3. Pegram (Ducati)
4. May (Suzuki)
5. Bostrom (Yamaha)
6. Hayes (Yamaha)
7. Knapp (Suzuki)
8. Anthony (Suzuki)
9. Young (Suzuki)
10. Yates (Suzuki)
11. Gobert (Honda)
12. Jensen (Suzuki)
13. Mazzotta (Suzuki)
14. Narbonne (Yamaha)
15. Higbee (Buell)
16. Haugo (Suzuki)
17. Graham (Yamaha)
18. Mizdal (Suzuki)
19. Stone (Honda)
20. Simon (Suzuki)