Mladin Takes Laguna

Paul Carruthers | July 20, 2008

MONTEREY, CA, JULY 20 – Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Mat Mladin put in a perfect performance today to win the AMA Superbike round at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, the Australian topping his championship-leading teammate Ben Spies by 10.1 seconds after a flawless 28 laps. Admittedly, Spies had only 45 minutes earlier climbed off his Rizla Suzuki MotoGP bike after riding it to eighth in the 32-lap Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix so it was hard to tell if Mladin was that dominant or if Spies was just spent. Or content to finish second since his points lead going into the race was a whopping 41 points. Either way, it was a solid performance from Mladin and the end of a tiring but successful day for Spies. Third place ended up going to Michael Jordan Motorsports’ Aaron Yates after a thrilling race-long battle for the position between a myriad of riders. In the end he fought off Monster Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking for the final podium spot, the Georgian beating his buddy from South Carolina by .052 of a second. Then came Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden, a shadow fifth, .4 of a second behind Hacking in his retujrn from injury. Monster Kawasaki’s Roger Lee Hayden rode to an impressive sixth in what was also his return to action after the Kentuckian was injured way back in round two in Alabama. Hayden barely held off a fast closing Neil Hodgson, the Brit having run in the pack for third before fading back and then forging forward to Roger Lee’s rear wheel. Yamaha’s Jason DiSalvo was also in that fight near the front, having run third for several laps before starting to fade back to what was an eventual eighth – one spot better than this teammate Eric Bostrom, who was a disappointing ninth after qualifying third on the front row earlier today. American Honda’s Miguel Duhamel rounded out the top 10 finishers. Mladin started with the lead and he stayed in the lead. After one lap he was just .004 of a second ahead and that grew to .4, a second, 1.2, 1.5, 1.6. Then, on the ninth lap, he gapped Spies by half a second to lead by 2.7 seconds. From there he was able to steadily draw away on virtually every lap until crossing the line a full 10 seconds ahead of his rival Spies. The win was Mladin’s fifth of the 12-race-old season and it moved him a tad closer to Spies in the championship, though he trails by 36 points, 411-375. The battle for third in the title chase is extremely close with Hacking moving in front of Hodgson, 319-317. Superbike Final 1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki) 2. Ben Spies (Suzuki) 3. Aaron Yates (Suzuki) 4. Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki) 5. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) 6. Roger Lee Hayden (Kawasaki) 7. Neil Hodgson (Honda) 8. Jason DiSalvo (Yamaha) 9. Eric Bostrom (Yamaha) 10. Miguel Duhamel (Honda)

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.