MONTEREY, CA, JULY 20 – Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Ben Spies rocketed to the top of AMA Superbike qualifying at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca today, the Texan saving his best for very last as he clicked off a 1:23.129 on the final lap of the session – held on chilly and dammp morning on the Monterey Peninsula. Spies knocked his teammate Mat Mladin off the top spot, the Australian having been fastest all weekend long in what were mostly abbreviated practice sessions as the series shared the track with MotoGP. Mladin held on to second with a 1:23.145 – a time he set with just 2:15 to go in the session. Prior to that, Spies was at the top with the 1:23.459 he set with some seven minutes to go, the Texan surprisingly fast considering his priorities seemed to be with his U.S. GP effort. Following the two factory Suzukis was Eric Bostrom, the Yamaha factory man turning his best-ever lap of Laguna at a 1:23.847 to bust up an all Suzuki GSX-R1000 front row. Fourth went to the returning Tommy Hayden, back from the broken lower leg he suffered at California Speedway in April. Hayden lapped at 1:24.244. Then came Monster Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking, the ZX10R rider – like Spies – doing double duty with AMA Superbike and MotoGP. Hacking had suffered a crash on Friday morning, but bounced back to end uip fifth with a 1:24.247 He would be joined on the second row for this afternoon’s race by his returning-from-injury teammate Roger Lee Hayden, Yamaha’s Jason DiSalvo and American Honda’s Neil Hodgson. Spies earned a single point for qualifying on pole and now leads Mladin by 41 points, 379-338. Superbike Qualifying 1. Ben Spies (Suzuki) 1:23.129 2. Mat Mladin (Suzuki) 1:23.145 3. Eric Bostrom (Yamaha) 1:23.847 4. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) 1:24.244 5. Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki) 1:24.247 6. Roger Lee Hayden (Kawasaki) 1:24.387 7. Jason DiSalvo (Yamaha) 1:24.429 8. Neil Hodgson (Honda) 1:24.638 9. Aaron Yates (Suzuki) 1:24.703 10. Geoff May (Suzuki) 1:25.161
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.