won yet another Superbike contest, the 57th of his illustrious AMA career, by taking the checkers in Road America's Saturday race. It was a blockbuster day for Suzuki, with the six-time Superbike champ joined on the podium by his two Yoshimura teammates, Ben Spies
and Tommy Hayden
. American Honda riders Miguel Duhamel and Jake Zemke rounded out the top five.
Mat Mladin is back to his pre-2006 form, winning almost every race he enters. The six-time champs victory in Saturday's Road America Superbike race marks his fourth in a row and the 57th of his career.
Coming into Road America tied with Spies in the championship points, Mladin started Saturday's 16-lap Superbike race in sole possession of the championship lead via his pole-position point earned in qualifying. His front spot on the grid did not translate into an easy flag-to-flag victory, however, as a poor start forced Mladin to work through the field before catching Spies and motoring forward to the win.
Ben Spies had a rocky start too, but the defending champ's trouble came before the race when he crashed during the Superbike warm-up. Spies made it to the main event but was unable to match Mladin over the duration and finished the race three seconds behind his rival.
The only podium battle in question was the fight over third, almost 20 seconds off the leader's pace. Tommy Hayden scored his first podium for Suzuki in the Superbike class, managing to fend off Miguel Duhamel for the final rostrum position. Also in the mix for third through much of the contest was Jordan Suzuki's Aaron Yates, who went on to finsih 17th after crashing in the latter laps.
was the fastest of the Yamahas, unable to find even a top-5 pace on his R1. E-Boz's teammate, Jason DiSalvo, lost seventh-place by less than a tenth to Kawasaki's Roger Hayden. Hayden's Monster Energy Kawasaki teammate, Jamie Hacking, finished ninth, with Jordan Suzuki's Jake Holden rounding out the top 10.
Mladin's victory, his fourth in a row, now gives the Aussie a six-point advantage over Spies, as the 2007 season makes a rapid approach to its halfway mark.
"I'd like to thank my Yoshimura Suzuki crew and Suzuki for delivering such a great motorbike in the GSX-R1000," said Mladin. "The bike allowed Yoshimura Suzuki to sweep the podium today and hopefully we'll come back and do it again tomorrow."
Spies will be keen on reversing Mladin's dominance, but was satisfied with second after his problems during the day.
"It wasn't our day to win today," said Spies. "I did everything I could but it just wasn't enough. We learned some things that we can use tomorrow but after the day I've had, I'm content with second place."
Road American Saturday Superbike Results:
1. Mathew Mladin (Suzuki)
2. Ben Spies (Suzuki) +3.158
3. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) +19.595
4. Miguel Duhamel (Honda) +19.622
5. Jake Zemke (Honda) +21.053
6. Eric Bostrom (Yamaha) +32.313
7. Roger Hayden (Kawasaki) +44.756
8. Jason DiSalvo (Yamaha) +44.795
9. Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki) +46.278
10. Jake Holden (Suzuki) +58.267
Superbike Championship Points:
1. Mat Mladin - 276
2. Ben Spies - 270
3. Miguel Duhamel - 224
4. Tommy Hayden - 209
5. Jake Zemke - 207
The Formula Xtreme race featured a down-to-the-wire battle between the two top riders in the points, Erion Honda's Josh Hayes and Attack Kawasaki's Steve Rapp. Both riders shared the lead at various times in the 10-lap race, but it was Hayes who emerged as the victor, with the Mississippian claiming the fourth consecutive win in his Formula Xtreme title defense.
Joining Hayes and Rapp on the podium was a new name, Martin Cardenas, who edged out the usual podium suspect, Erion Honda's Aaron Gobert. The fourth-place finish for Gobert breaks a three-race string of seconds to his teammate's firsts. Ducati's Larry Pegram rounded out the top 5.
Road America Formula Xtreme Results:
1. Josh Hayes (Honda)
2. Steve Rapp (Kawasaki) +0.440
3. Martin Cardenas (Suzuki) +1.384
4. Aaron Gobert (Honda) +1.749
5. Larry Pegram (Ducati) +6.591
6. Martin Craggill (Ducati) +6.652
7. Ben Attard (Kawasaki) +9.483
8. Ryan Andrews (Honda) +18.526
9. Cory West (Yamaha) +24.086
10. Chad Herrmann (Suzuki) +39.158
Formula Xtreme Championship Points:
1. Josh Hayes - 177
2. Steve Rapp - 152
3. Aaron Gobert - 123
4. Larry Pegram - 113
5. B. Fong – 95