Rockstar/Makita/Yoshimura Suzuki's Mat Mladin raced to his 65th career victory in Race 1 at Barber Motorsports Park.
Mat Mladin scored yet another Superbike win when he took the checkers in Race 1 of the Barber doubleheader. The big news on Saturday, however, was not where Mladin finished but where the reigning champ, Ben Spies, ended up - the Texan crashing early in the race and remounting to finish 11th. Instead of the usual Spies, joining Mladin on the podium were Yamaha's Jason DiSalvo and fellow Yoshimura Suzuki rider Tommy Hayden.
The trouble for Spies came on Lap 2, when the two-time champ lowsided into the gravel. Able to restart his GSX-R1000, by the time the Yoshimura ace got back into the fight, he was a lap down on his rival. Although a major setback to his path for a third-consecutive Superbike title, Spies did salvage valuable points by picking his way through the backmarkers to finish 11th and gather 20 points.
"I got a pretty good start and I was right there with Mat. Then, I just rushed it because I got a little bit impatient," explained Spies on his crash. "We have the speed and I'm satisfied with the Suzuki's performance, so we're looking good for tomorrow. I just need to be a little more patient."
As for Mladin, one mistake from his young teammate was all the cagey veteran needed to coast to an unchallenged victory. Mladin's win builds on the six-time champion's own record, with the Aussie now standing at 65 career victories in the premier AMA roadracing class.
"It was a pretty good race for us, though the guy I like to race with the most wasn't in it," said Mladin on his Race 1 victory. "We got a good start and I had my head down, so I didn't realise Ben had crashed. But he'll be back tomorrow and we'll put on a great show and hopefully we'll win another one. I'd like to keep it going as long as we can. I have to thank my guys for giving me a Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000 that will hopefully give us another win tomorrow."
Finishing 15 seconds behind Mladin at the line, Yamaha's Jason DiSalvo logged another gutsy performance. The R1
Birmingham was the place to be this past weekend as the racing action heated up the Barber track.
pilot emerged from a hard-fought battle over second to eventually distance himself from the pack and earn his second consecutive podium of the season and his career.
Tommy Hayden continues to run strong on his Yoshimura Suzuki, earning his first podium in the 2008 campaign. Once again, Hayden was fighting for position with Kawasaki's Jamie Hacking, who settled for fourth - the same position he now holds in the overall points.
Following Hacking, the American Honda duo of Neil Hodgson and Miguel Duhamel took a respective fifth and sixth. An improvement from Daytona, but still not the results expected from the factory CBRs.
Yamaha's Eric Bostrom was the slowest of the factory riders, finishing seventh. Kawasaki's Roger Hayden did not race in the Superbike event, with the younger of the Hayden brothers hospitalized from an earlier crash.
Mladin's victory, combined with Spies' misfortune, also gives Number 6 an imposing 15-point championship lead - 24 points ahead of the now fifth-place Spies. The surprising DiSalvo is second in the overall points, with Tommy Hayden sitting third.
AMA Superbike Barber Saturday Results:
1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)
2. Jason Disalvo (Yamaha)
3. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki)
4. Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki)
5. Neil Hodgson (Honda)
6. Miguel Duhamel (Honda)
7. Eric Bostrom (Yamaha)
8. Geoff May (Suzuki)
9. Chris Peris (Suzuki)
10. Jordan Szoke (Kawasaki)
11. Ben Spies (Suzuki)
Superbike Race 2
Mladin kept his undefeated Superbike season intact with another win at Barber on Sunday. The six-time champion motored to an easy win after an early lap challenge from Ben Spies fell flat. Mladin had familiar company on the Sunday podium, as it was an all Rockstar Makita Yoshimura Suzuki affair with Spies in second and Tommy Hayden in third.
Mladin jumped out with the holeshot and began making immediate tracks. Eric Bostrom, who almost snagged the
With its abundance of curves, riders stay on the edge of their tires for much of the race at Barber.
better start, ran in second, holding off Spies until Lap 2. The Number-1 plate then started chasing down Number 6 and the Yoshimuras quickly distanced themselves from Bostrom and the third Yosh rider, Hayden, who was running in fourth.
While the front-running duo furthered the gap, a good battle developed over third-place. Yamaha's Bostrom was holding the position ahead of Honda's Neil Hodgson, Suzuki's Hayden, Kawasaki's Jamie Hacking and yesterday's third-place finisher, Yamaha's Jason DiSalvo.
With 10 laps in the books, Mladin opened up almost a two-second advantage over Spies. Meanwhile, Bostrom also made his position more secure, with Hayden overtaking Hodgson again for fourth.
At the halfway mark nothing had changed up front, but the battle for third saw Bostrom lose ground. Hayden moved into the podium spot and DiSalvo had worked up into fifth - closing in on what would have been his third career Superbike podium.
During the final laps not much changed as Mladin was able to cruise uncontested to his 66th career Superbike victory.
"Today was a great day for me and my guys and it was a great day for the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team," said Mladin. "For me, it was a pretty good race. I just tried to put in a good, solid ride and be consistent. Our goal all along was to come out and win as many races as possible. We've gone three for three; we've gotten both pole positions and led the most laps so I reckon that's not too bad. Hopefully, we can do it again next weekend at Fontana."
Spies finished second, not his desired position, but certainly better than yesterday's 11th-place results.
"We got a not-so-good start and then I made my way into second place but I just couldn't keep Mat's pace," said Spies on his Race 2 result. "But we're going to some tracks that I like and we're going to keep giving it all we've got. He's riding really good right now and we're chasing him so we've got to step it up. I have to thank my guys for building me a new Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000 last night after I crashed yesterday. Now we're focusing on Fontana next weekend and we know what we need to do. We just need to go faster."
Moving up to the final rostrum position was Hayden, making Sunday's Barber race the perfect example of factory Suzuki supremacy in the premier class.
"Rockstar Makita Suzuki - one, two, three - that's the way it should be and I'm just glad to do my part to make that happen," said the elder of the Hayden brothers after the impressive showing for the factory Suzuki team. "It feels good to be up on the podium twice this weekend and thanks to my team for everything. We did a lot of work this winter and we've come a long way. I'm definitely happy with today's race, even happier than yesterday. I felt like I got a bit of a gift yesterday with Ben crashing. Today, I really had to earn this one. I just tried to keep my head down. It was a hard race but it feels good to start off the season with two podiums. My goal was to get more podiums right out of the gate and hopefully I'll keep on seeing these guys a little more often."
Disalvo had to settle for fourth, with Hodgson rounding out the top 5. Bostrom fell to sixth followed by Jordan Suzuki's Aaron Yates and Honda's Miguel Duhamel. The factory Kawasakis had a forgettable Barber round, with Roger Hayden hospitalized yesterday and Hacking not finishing Sunday's race due to technical problems on his ZX-10R.
Mladin now holds an imposing 25-point lead in the 2008 Superbike championship standings.
AMA Superbike Barber Sunday Results:
1 Mathew Mladin (Suzuki)
2 Ben Spies (Suzuki)
3 Tommy Hayden (Suzuki)
4 Jason DiSalvo (Yamaha)
5 Neil Hodgson (Honda)
6 Eric Bostrom (Yamaha)
7 Aaron W. Yates (Suzuki)
8 Miguel Duhamel (Honda)
9 Matt D. Lynn (Honda)
10 Geoff May (Suzuki)