Professional rider on closed course competition.
MLADIN WINS AT ROAD AMERICA
June 3, 2006
Team Suzuki Press Office – June 3rd, 2006.
Mat Mladin continued Yoshimura Suzuki’s total domination of the AMA Superbike Championship by winning today’s Road America Championship round ahead of team mate Ben Spies.
Six-time Champion Mladin won a hard-fought victory and stopped Spies taking the AMA record for consecutive race wins, which he now shares with American Honda’s Miguel Duhamel at six.
Duhamel led from the start but Spies took the lead by the end of the first lap.
Mladin was fourth on lap two after a poor start, third on lap three and into second on the sixth lap, before taking the lead
In the closing stages, Spies closed on Mladin, but the Australian held the 23-year-old Texan behind.
“It feels good to get the win,” said the defending AMA Superbike Champion. “Ben pushed me the whole way. I tried to get a gap and just couldn’t hold it. But what can you say about the Yoshimura Suzuki team and the GSX-R1000? One -two all season and eight race wins in a row.”
As thrilling as the race was, the excitement of Road America actually started with Friday afternoon’s qualifying session. Spies broke the track record with an ultra-fast 2:12.156 lap time and captured provisional pole. On Saturday, however, Mladin came back with blistering lap time of 2:11.970. The result was Mladin taking his second pole position of the season and his 49th career pole. Spies remained in the second spot on the grid, while team mate Aaron Yates was fifth.
The 16-lap race on the lengthy and flowing 4.0-mile Road America circuit was a nail-biter. Although Spies was out front for the first several laps, Mladin was able to reel him in and hold him off to take the win.
“As I’ve been saying all season, Ben’s been riding really well,” said Mladin. “I’ve learned some stuff off him from the last few races, places where he’s stronger than me. And I’ve worked on that at the last few tests. That’s not easy – they say you can’t teach an old dog new tricks and I’m only 34, that’s not really old, but I’ve been racing for 30 years and I’m pretty set in my ways.”
Even so, Mladin pulled off the victory. It was close, though, with Spies right on Mladin’s GSX-R for the remaining laps. In fact, Spies finished less 0.149 of a second behind his team mate.
“Hats off to Mat,” said Spies, who currently leads the AMA Superbike points chase. “He rode great right from the get-go and we just didn’t have what it takes today. I rode as hard as I could and I wouldn’t have done anything differently. The Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000’s handling is awesome and it’s really going good. We just have a few adjustments to make before we come back tomorrow.”
Yates, meanwhile, was battling tyre grip and some bad luck at Road America. Although he got a good start, the Georgian got caught up in some turn-one confusion and lost several spots. “I got a good launch,” he said ruefully. “And I tried to go to the outside but then I fell way back. It took awhile to get around everybody and I think I chose the wrong front tyre. I just didn’t have any confidence and wasn’t going forward.”
1. Mat Mladin (Yoshimura Suzuki)
2. Ben Spies (Yoshimura Suzuki)
3. Jake Zemke (Honda)
4. Miguel Duhamel (Honda)
5. Neil Hodgson (Ducati)
6. Aaron Yates (Yoshimura Suzuki)
7. Tommy Hayden (Kawasaki)
8. Ben Bostrom (Ducati)
9. Jason Pridmore (Suzuki)
10. Steve Rapp (Suzuki)
For more stories about Mat Mladin, click here . For photos, click here .
For more stories about Aaron Yates, click here . For photos, click here .
For more stories about Ben Spies, click here . For photos, click here .
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