Wednesday News & Notes: Fontana
The following notes and quotes are from the AMA National at Auto Club Speedway on the weekend…The Yamaha team is behind in the development of the new R1 with Josh Hayes and teammate Ben Bostrom racing over sixth in the first of the two races in what was nothing more than a test, according do the duo. Hayes got the nod over Bostrom in race one, but in race two he was a spot and quite a distance behind him. “We are really treating this more like testing than racing,” Hayes said after Saturday’s race. “We’re just trying to figure out how to have a good race bike two or three races into the season so the bike I rode today vs. the bike I rode yesterday was 180 degrees. We changed everything from shock spec to front end triple clamps, clutches, engine management. I think the bike improved, but with all those changes all we did was make it where we were consistently have a second faster with all those changes. But we learned quite a bit so it helps us go more in a direction this way. It’s more of a work in progress and unfortunately we’re not testing much and the races are happening pretty fast now. This morning in qualifying I rode on the tire I rode on in Superpole – I never came in and got a fresh tire. I’m just working on having a good race bike right now and my qualifying was set so I wasn’t worried about having a fast time for one lap. We’re just trying to work on building a better motorcycle and trying some new stuff.” On Sunday, things took a turn for the worst and Hayes had no traction at all. “It was definitely not my best of races,” Hayes said on Sunday. “With all the changes we made this weekend, something happened and there was some miscommunication or something on the back of the motorcycle. I’m not sure if it was a shock, a tire, tire pressure… I don’t think it was a matter of tire, but we just had no rear grip. I had a terrible race.”Like his teammate Hayes, Ben Bostrom was basically testing at Auto Club Speedway and he managed to make his bike better for Sunday’s final than for Saturday’s – thus a jump of a few places in the standings to fifth. “We rode a bike we hadn’t ridden yet and it was just better,” Bostrom said. “It’s got a lot of work to do. I was trying to hard because we have to make a lot of time back on the brakes, and I just kept blowing the corner down there. I just kept trying harder and the last two laps I never made the corner down there. That’s where I was really fast and thought I could make up a half a second a lap, but those guys were flying. The biggest thing was the bike felt balanced, so right now we have to get some grip and horsepower. At least right now our bike handles well. There are some spots where our bike is just genius.”Jake Holden filled in admirable for the injured Neil Hodgson on Saturday, finishing sixth. On Sunday, the Corona Honda failed him while he was in the thick of a battle for fourth. “The first start I had a really good start,” Holden said. “I was looking forward to mixing it up with the front pack. We’re just kind of trying a bunch of things and I’ve never ridden a Superbike before and it’s all new to me and it was a great experience. The second start, I got a decent start and got around Josh Hayes on the straightaway and started catching [Geoff] May and [Ben] Bostrom and I was ready to pick them off and we just had a little issue with the bike. It’s part of racing, so hopefully I’ll be at Atlanta and come back for a podium finish. It was coming out of turn nine. I just noticed something was going wrong. It felt like it was clogged fuel or something. These guys worked hard and it was a great opportunity to work with the Honda guys here. So I’m pretty happy with fifth yesterday and I was looking forward to maybe another top five.”Mat Mladin’s victories at Auto Club Speedway were the seventh and eighth of his career at the Fontana racetrack. Ben Spies has won six times there, including both races last year. The only other riders to win Superbike races at Auto Club Speedway are Anthony Gobert and Nicky Hayden, the pair splitting wins at the inaugural race in 2002.Okay, so Mladin has won the most Superbike races at the facility, but who has won the most support races? That would be Jamie Hacking with four Supersport class victories.Mladin’s best lap time of the two races was a 1:23.750 on the second lap of the restart in race two. In race one, his best was a 1:24.145 on the 14th lap. Tommy Hayden’s best of the two races was a 1:23.842 on the fourth lap of race two.The last time someone won the first three AMA Superbike races of the season was in 2005 and it was Mladin. Mladin opened that season with a win a Daytona, followed by a sweep of the Barber round in Birmingham, Alabama. His streak was then stopped by Ben Spies, who won the first of two races at Fontana. Mladin then went on another three-race win streak en route to winning the title.