AMA Pro Racing press release:
Mat Mladin continued his dominance of AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited in Saturday’s Honda Superbike Classic race at Barber Motorsports Park.
Racing the 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000 model for the first time today, Mladin dropped back to fourth on the opening lap after starting from pole on the No. 7 Makita/Rockstar Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000. However, he quickly began working his way back toward the front, and claimed the lead from Ben Bostrom’s No. 2 Yamaha R1 on Lap 6 of the 21-lap race.
Mladin wouldn’t be challenged from that point on as he claimed his sixth AMA Pro American Superbike victory in six 2009 starts, this time by 1.928 seconds ahead of teammate Blake Young. It was also Mladin’s fifth consecutive victory at Barber Motorsports Park and the eighth of his career at the 2.38-mile Alabama road circuit.
“At the start of the race, the boys were having a bit of a go,” Mladin said. “Ben came by and I just sort of sat there to see what was going on, just to get a feel for the bike with a full tank of gas and a few laps in. I had a bit of a look at what they were doing and made our way through. I just tried to keep it solid, but try not to wear too much stuff out, because we really didn’t know what the bike was capable of doing or what it was going to do to the tires. This motorcycle, as far as a GSX-R1000 goes, is very, very different to any other one we’ve ever had. It’s a very different motorbike. We have some work to do to try and figure out a few things. We didn’t want to go too crazy today. We were riding hard, but we needed to keep it within a certain envelope.”
Young and Bostrom played central roles in a thrilling race-long battle for second place, although both riders also spent time at the head of the field. Young led Lap 2 on his No. 79 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 before surrendering the spot to Bostrom, and the two riders resumed their battle — this time for second — throughout the remainder of the race. Young took advantage of several lappers on the second-to-last lap to claim second place for the second-straight race behind his teammate.
“It started off pretty good there,” Young said. “After getting out front, I really wanted to see what the track was like. It was obviously really green and not very much grip, but I just tried to get comfortable and put in a pace that I was comfortable doing. Ben came by and he was running a bit quicker, so I definitely just jumped in and tried to learn where he was a little bit better. All of a sudden, Mat came by and he was running even more of a quicker pace, so I knew he was going to go. I was just trying to stay on his rear wheel and wait until he went by Ben and try to go with him. It didn’t end up like that. We had to wait another lap, but I just kept my head down and worked really hard. We’ve got another race tomorrow. Hopefully, we can get up there and race with Mat a little bit longer.”
Bostrom also had his hands full keeping the No. 22 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki of Tommy Hayden at bay, but the 2009 Daytona 200 winner managed to take his first AMA Pro American Superbike podium result of the season with a third-place run on the No. 2 Yamaha Motor Corp. USA Yamaha R1. Bostrom’s Daytona 200 victory came aboard an AMA Pro Daytona SportBike.
“It’s a lot better than where I’ve been sitting, so I’m not going to be bummed,” said Bostrom of his third-place showing. “I’m going to sleep well tonight. I think it was a fantastic ride and the Yamaha worked amazing. The boys here (Mladin and Young) are out-riding us a little bit and made a couple of amazing passes on me. Mat about scared the (crap) out of me, honestly. It was good racing. It got my heart rate up, and I’m ready to attack again. I’m looking forward to another good day tomorrow. Hopefully, that’s how it goes. I want to maintain this spot up here and keep racing. I really enjoyed racing with these guys. It just seems like a long way ’til today. It’s a big race tomorrow. It’s going to be exciting. Hopefully, we find something, but honestly, these guys are riding amazing, so it’s going to be hard to chip away at it.”
Hayden finished fourth on the No. 22 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000, and Josh Hayes — who led the opening lap of the race — completed the top five aboard the No. 4 Yamaha Motor Corp. USA Yamaha R1.
The second race of the American Superbike doubleheader closes out the Honda Superbike Classic festivities at 4:00 p.m. local time on Sunday.
In an exciting, seesaw battle between Team M4 Suzuki teammates Martin Cardenas and Jason DiSalvo that lasted for the final two-thirds of the race, Cardenas took the lead from DiSalvo for the final time on the penultimate lap to take his second AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL victory in three races in Saturday’s Honda Superbike Classic races at Barber Motorsports Park..
While Jamie Hacking and Josh Herrin both led in the early stages of the race, Cardenas and DiSalvo established themselves as the main protagonists for the victory on Lap 7 after both riders dispatched Herrin. Cardenas led Laps 7-12 of the 21-lap race on his No. 36 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600, and then DiSalvo took his turn in the lead on the No. 40 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600 for Laps 13 to 19 before Cardenas’ decisive pass.
“This one felt really tough, because I think the track is very demanding physically,” said Cardenas. “I had a huge battle with him for 10 laps or maybe more. At the beginning, I tried to put a gap to him, but I pushed and saw that I wasn’t doing much so I tried to stay in a rhythm. Two laps later, he passed me and I started to look for his stronger points. Two laps from the end, I made a move on him, put my head down and tried to ride as fast as I could. I pulled a little bit of a gap and it worked out to the end. It was a great race and I want to thank the team for giving me a great bike. Suzuki, M4, all the guys, thank you very much.”
After starting from the pole and coming tantalizingly close to his first Daytona SportBike victory, DiSalvo settled for a season-best result of second. He previously finished third in the Daytona 200 and the second race of the doubleheader at Auto Club Speedway in March.
“Martin and I just had such a fantastic race,” DiSalvo said. “There’s not much I can say. It was awesome. Where he passed me, it was such a great pass. I honestly didn’t think he was going to be able to make it stick, but he did, and then he really put his head down. We hung in there pretty good for the last lap, but there was just nothing we could do. Both bikes were just so evenly matched that it made it difficult. Tomorrow, we’ve just got to try to get out in the lead and stay there.”
Hacking’s No. 88 Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R appeared to be one of the quickest bikes on the circuit for most of the event, and Hacking led the first lap before near disaster struck in the final turn on Lap 2. Hacking nearly crashed but managed to get the bike righted, albeit dropping all the way to eighth in the running order. He chipped away over the remaining laps to take the final spot on the box in third place.
“The bike worked great,” said Hacking. “We managed to run down Josh there, and I was able to put in some good laps and make Josh push up to the back of these guys. Once I got around Josh, unfortunately, we got into the lapped riders. Josh got hung up a little bit, and it’s unfortunate that happened, but it’s just the way things go. Once I got around him, I managed to somewhat reel these guys (Cardenas and DiSalvo) in just a little bit. I could see them, but by that time, the race was pretty much over. I’m glad to finish third, actually.”
Herrin, who led five laps, came home fourth on the No. 8 Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R6, one spot ahead of teammate Tommy Aquino, who finished fifth on the No. 6 Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R6. Danny Eslick came home eighth on the No. 9 Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Racing/RMR Buell 1125R to retain the Daytona SportBike points lead.
The second race of the Daytona SportBike doubleheader at the Honda Superbike Classic is slated for 2:00 p.m. local time tomorrow afternoon.