Mladin Takes Fontana Opener

Paul Carruthers | March 21, 2009

Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden came within .068 of a second of winning the first American Superbike race of his career, but when all was said and done it was Mat Mladin taking the victory – the 74th of his career.Mladin and Hayden fought for the majority of the 19-lap race (it was supposed to be 21 laps, but a red flag shortened it by two laps), with Hayden leading 10 laps and Mladin the other nine. But it was the 19th lap that counted the most and though Hayden led the start of it, it was Mladin leading across the finish line. But it was oh so very close.”If there’s anybody up here that I’d like to see win one, it’s probaby him [Hayden], but I’m not going to give it to him so I pushed him hard,” Mladin said. “It was a good race.”Third place went to National Guard Suzuki’s Geoff May, the Georgian passing Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young on the sixth lap to take the spot. At the time that battle was for fourth as Michael Jordan Motorsports’ Aaron Yates was holding down a comfortable third. But that changed on the 11th lap when Yates lowsided his GSX-R1000, the veteran remounting and taking the required run down pit road for a safety inspection before being able to rejoin the race. He ended up 15th.With May and Young finishing third and fourth for a Suzuki sweep of the top four places, the first non-Suzuki was the fifth-placed Corona Honda ridden by Jake Holden, the Washingtonian filling in admirably for the injured Neil Hodgson.Josh Hayes was next on the factory Yamaha R1. Hayes was just .028 of a second behind Holden and just .8 of a second ahead of his teammate Ben Bostrom. David Anthony, Taylor Knapp and Aaron Gobert rounded out the top 10 finishers.The race was red-flagged on the opening lap when Larry Pegram crashed his Foremost Insurance-backed Ducati in turn two. Pegram was reportedly not injured in the crash, though he was transported in an ambulance to the infield medical center.

American Superbike Results

Mat Mladin (Suzuki)

Tommy Hayden (Suzuki)

Geoff May (Suzuki)

Blake Young (Suzuki)

Jake Holden (Honda)

Josh Hayes (Yamaha)

Ben Bostrom (Yamaha)

David Anthony (Suzuki)

Taylor Knapp (Suzuki)

Aaron Gobert (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.