Mladin Back on Top

Henny Ray Abrams | May 17, 2009

One day after the end of Suzuki’s 53-race winning streak, Mat Mladin started another one.The Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider dominated Sunday’s American Superbike final from flag-to-flag on a day when the ambient temperature toyed with 100 degrees and track temperature was at 125.From the pole position, Mladin jetted into the lead. But unlike on Saturday, when he struggled with front end grip, Mladin had no troubles today. He was able to incrementally increase his lead until near the end of the race when lappers allowed Yamaha’s Ben Bostrom and Mladin’s teammate Tommy Hayden to close back up.But from a gap of .608 secs. ending the 18th lap, Mladin stretched it to 1.833 over Bostrom at the end of the 22-lap, 51.04 mile race. The finish was Bostrom’s best of the year.The win, his eighth in nine tries this year, padded his points lead to 79 points, 268 to 189. Yamaha’s Josh Hayes, Saturday’s winner, is third with 160 after finishing fourth today.”At 37 years of age, I don’t want to see too many days at the office like that,” Mladin said.While Mladin was leading Hayden was pressuring Bostrom, but the Yamaha rider wasn’t unnerved and never came close to ceding his position. Lappers also played into their battle, with Hayden briefly getting the worst of it before closing back up. It was only in the final few laps that Bostrom was able to gain more than a second cushion on Hayden.Hayes was able to close up on Hayden on the 14th lap when the pursuing trio caught lappers in the turn 7-7A double rights. But the gap grew from then on and he finished 8.585 secs. behind Hayden.Team Foremost Insurance Pegram’s Larry Pegram (Duc) had a lonely ride to fifth, well in front of an equally solitary run by National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Geoff May.Taylor Knapp held off David Anthony throughout before pulling away at the end of the race to take seventh to Anthony’s eighth.Corona Extra Honda’s Neil Hodgson finished ninth after crashing on Saturday in his return to racing after an extended lay-off.Ryan Elleby finished tenth.American Superbike:1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)2. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha)3. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki)4. Josh Hayes (Yamaha)5. Larry Pegram (Ducati)6. Geoff May (Suzuki)7. Taylor Knapp (Suzuki)8. David Anthony (Suzuki)9. Neil Hodgson (Honda)10. Ryan Elleby (Suzuki)

Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.