Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Mat Mladin won a wet American Superbike Race 1 at Road American in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Mat Mladin won the first American Superbike race in full wet conditions at Road America in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.
“We had a bit of a problem in the warm-up so we didn’t get many laps,” Mladin said in regards to the clutch issue he was having before the start of the race. “The first couple laps I was just trying to feel the racetrack. After the first lap I had a bit of feel and decided to have a go at it. The lap times kept coming down then the rain started coming down again. I ran off in Turn 7, locked up the front tire, than locked up the rear. Fortunately we were able to get home.”
Although Mladin started from pole position courtesy of Friday’s flyer on a warm and dry track when the 13-lap race got underway it was Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing’s Larry Pegram with the holeshot. Behind were Yamaha Factory Racing’s Ben Bostrom, followed by National Guard Suzuki’s Geoff May and Mladin. Pegram opened up an early lead but by Lap 4 Mladin had closed in on him and made the pass on the brakes going through Turn 3. Mladin immediately went to work opening up a gap on the rest of the field.
Meanwhile Celtric Racing’s Michael Laverty proved he knows a thing or two about riding around in the rain when he crept up from behind and passed both Bostrom and then Pegram for second position.
“It was a little bit tough I was in the third row I had quite a few to pass,” commented Laverty. “I was always chasing someone down so it was a fun ride. It was going to be a tall order trying to catch Mladin. The bike is working good. I’ve got quite a lot of rain experience racing in the U.K. for 7 years.” I’ve been on the podium in superbikes but never won one. To finish a few seconds behind Mladin–that’s got to be pretty good.”
The running order up front would continue to be the same with the gap between the top five riders a few seconds between each other until Mladin had a moment on the second to the last lap. Mladin said that he had locked up the front wheel momentarily running off the track. This would allow the Laverty, a former British Supersport champion to catch up to within just a few seconds of Mladin.
But Laverty would run out of laps allowing Mladin to secure his ninth win of the season and his 81st career American Superbike win. Bostrom would take the final podium spot behind Laverty.
“It went well,” said Bostrom after the race. “The bike is fantastic at this track and its fun in the rain. I think we have a shot at them in the wet tomorrow. We stepped the wrong way in set-up but we’ll get it fixed for tomorrow. This is one of the funnest tracks in the wet and we’ll try again tomorrow.”
Fourth would go to Pegram followed by local boy Blake Young who made his return to Superbike racing after injuring himself at Barber Motorsports Park earlier this year. On a side note, former World Superbike champion Doug Polen finished 13th.
American Superbike Saturday Race 1 Results:
1. Mat Mladin, Suzuki GSX-R1000
2. Mike Laverty, Suzuki GSX-R1000
3. Ben Bostrom, Yamaha YZF-R1
4. Larry Pegram, Ducati 1098R
5. Blake Young, Suzuki GSX-R1000
6. Aaron Yates, Suzuki GSX-R1000
7. Ryan Elleby, Suzuki GSX-R1000
8. David Anthony, Suzuki GSX-R1000
9. Tommy Hayden, Suzuki GSX-R1000
10. Mark Crozier, Suzuki GSX-R1000
11. Chris Ulrich, Suzuki GSX-R1000
12. Jaken Holden, Honda CBR1000RR
13. Doug Polen, Yamaha YZF-R1
14. Shane Narbonne, Suzuki GSX-R1000
15. Eric Haugo, Suzuki GSX-R1000
American Superbike Road America Race 1 Rider Quotes:
Mat Mladin – Suzuki – 1st
“We had a bit of a problem in the warm-up so we didn’t get to do any laps. So the first lap, lap and a
half, of the race I was trying to get the feel of the racetrack because I didn’t know how it was going
to be. It worked out good for us, though. After that first lap, I got a bit of a feel for it and the Rockstar
Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000 felt good and I decided to have a go at it…. I just kept trying to go.”
Mike Laverty – Suzuki – 2nd
“A lot of people in the American paddock don’t know who I am yet. That’s the biggest result from this is people might realize I can ride a bit. I’m over the moon. We’ve got a new bike this weekend, and we’ve been getting it better in the dry every session. I think I’ve got the pace for, probably, top five in the dry. It was nice today in the wet with a bit of a leveler. I was able to just keep plugging away. If I hadn’t gotten such a bad start, I probably could have raced Mat for the win, but I just had to come back through from 11th. By the time I got through to second, he already had quite a gap. It was a bit frustrating from that point of view, with the win being so close, but at the end of the day, Mat is one of the best Superbike riders in the world and I was pushing him pretty hard towards the end. I even pushed him into a bit of a mistake. It’s been a good race, and hopefully if it rains tomorrow, I can repeat the performance or even go one better.”
Ben Bostrom – Suzuki – 3rd
“The bike is fantastic, and this track’s quite fun in the rain, as well. It’s got a lot of different elements to it because there’s some patches here and there in different corners. The boys just out rode us today. I’ll look forward to tomorrow. We might get another shot at it in the wet, which will be great.”