Six-time AMA Superbike champion Mat Mladin had Ben Spies' number as he leads him through the Corkscrew at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway in Monterey, Ca.
The headlining MotoGP feature at Mazda Laguna Seca Raceway pitted two stars, Valentino Rossi and Casey Stoner, duking it out for the win. The undercard AMA Superbike race promised more of the same, with Yoshimura Suzuki teammates Mat Mladin and Ben Spies figuring to dice it up on the famed Monterey circuit. Instead the six-time champion Mladin cruised to the checkers in dominating fashion, with Number 6 leading all 28 laps. Spies motored to an unchallenged second, with former Yosh teammate and current Jordan Suzuki rider Aaron Yates completing the podium.
Spies, fresh off his eighth-place finish in MotoGP, looked ready to extend his 40-point championship advantage by leading the race early. Mladin, however, would have none of it, taking the front and never looking back.
Considering Spies' recent string of wins at the Laguna circuit, today's win is a boost for Mladin's down, but certainly not out, bid for a seventh AMA Superbike crown - an unprecedented feat.
The real battle, as is almost always the case in AMA SB, was over that third and final podium position. Of late Jamie Hacking has proved the master of runner-up honors and it appeared that he would do so again. Also racing the earlier 32-lap USGP, Hacking overcame Yamaha's Jason DiSalvo - the R1 pilot owning third-place the seven opening laps.
Yates was on the charge, however, with the satellite Suzuki rider shaming his factory-ride colleagues and passing
Jordan Motorsports Suzuki rider Aaron Yates (20) tracked down and passed Jamie Hacking (2) in order to claim the final spot on the AMA Superbike podium at Laguna Seca.
Hacking in the closing laps. Yates just nipped the determined last surge from Hacking at the finish, crossing the line less than a tenth ahead of his rival.
Following Hacking were the Hayden boys, Tommy and Roger, with both brothers returning from injuries this season. For Roger Hayden, his sixth-place Superbike finish is his best result of the season (in Superbike) and the first since his nasty crash at Barber earlier this year.
DiSalvo dropped from third to his eventual eighth-place finish, having lost seventh to Honda's Neil Hodgson. DiSalvo teammate Eric Bostrom was ninth, followed by Hodgson's paddock mate, Miguel Duhamel.
With the victory, Mladin gains four points on Spies, cutting his title deficit from 40 to 36. Although his seventh-consecutive podium escaped him, Hacking is 56 points behind Mladin in standings and two points ahead of Hodgson, leapfrogging into third overall. Jason DiSalvo is a distant fifth in the points at 288.
The AMA paddock now gets a two-week breather before heading over to Lexington, Ohio and the Mid-Ohio circuit for a Superbike doubleheader and a full racing docket.
AMA Superbike Laguna Seca Results:
1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)
2. Ben Spies (Suzuki)
3. Aaron Yates (Suzuki)
4. Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki)
5. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki)
6. Roger Hayden (Kawasaki)
7. Neil Hodgson (Honda)
8. Jason DiSalvo (Yamaha)
9. Eric Bostrom (Yamaha)
10. Miguel Duhamel (Honda)
11. Jake Holden (Honda)
12. Geoff May (Suzuki)
13. Robertino Pietri (Suzuki)
14. Hawk Mazzotta (Suzuki)
15. Scott Jensen (Suzuki)
Erion Racing Honda's Jake Zemke and Attack Kawasaki's Steve Rapp battled for second place during the AMA Supersport final at Laguna Seca while Graves Yamaha rider Ben Bostrom went on to claim the win.
AMA Supersport Report
Grave Yamaha rider Ben Bostrom kept up his winning ways in the AMA Supersport class, with the native Californian taking the checkers in familiar territory at the Laguna Seca raceway. The R6 pilot scored a win over his leading championship rival, Erion Honda's Jake Zemke, with Bostrom crossing the line at almost an eight-second advantage. Joining the front runners on the podium was Attack Kawasaki's Steve Rapp.
It was Bostrom and Zemke setting the pace from the very beginning, with the Yamaha man leading all 17 laps. The final podium spot, however, saw some battles, with eventual sixth-place winner, Josh Hayes, holding the position during the opening laps.
The Erion Honda rider gave way to an impressive Danny Eslick (Matsushima Suzuki) after serving a ride through penalty, spoiling his podium chances. Eslick would in turn yield to Rapp before the halfway mark, the duo dicing for the podium right up to the checkered flag.
Privateer Bobby Fong tallied a solid top-5 result, able to best former champ Hayes. Back from mid-season injury, M4 EMGO Suzuki's Martin Cardenas scored a seventh-place result, with a Yamaha trio of Tommy Aquino, Michael Beck and Josh Herrin rounding out the top 10.
Herrin, who tasted his first AMA win at Laguna in '07, placed poor for his title bid, but the Yamaha young gun still got the upper hand on rivals Aaron Gobert (Rockwall Honda) and Blake Young (M4 EMGO Suzuki).