Mladin Chills at Road America

Henny Ray Abrams | June 6, 2009

Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Mat Mladin took his ninth American Superbike win in ten tries, today’s win coming on an chilly, overcast day in the Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader on a wet Road America road course.Starting from the pole position, Mladin finished the first lap in third, then passed Yamaha’s Ben Bostrom for second on lap two. On the fourth lap he ran down early leader Larry Pegram (Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing Ducati) to take the lead and sprint away.The margin of victory was 4.070 secs.The win increased Mladin’s championship lead to 99 points, 300 to 201, over teammate Tommy Hayden. Hayden finished a distant seventh.”We had a bit of a problem in that warm-up, so we didn’t get to do any laps,” Mladin began, “so the first sort of lap or so, lap and a half, I just tried to feel the racetrack a little bit, because I really didn’t know what it was going to be. It worked out good for us. After the first lap I got a bit of a feel and the bike felt good and just decided to have bit of a go at it. And Larry (Pegram) got out there pretty quick. And I felt like I could pull him back reasonably comfortably and we did and just went underneath him and just kept trying to go.”Celtic Racing’s Michael Laverty was a surprising second in the race. In his first ride on the 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000, the Irishman was away with the leaders and patiently moved through the field. He passed Pegram for second on the seventh of 13 laps, but couldn’t close the gap on Mladin. Still, it was his best AMA finish and first AMA podium.The last privateer to finish on the podium was when Josh Hayes rode the Attack Kawasaki to third at Road America in 2005.”I’ve had second position and stuff in British Superbike before, so I’ve been on the podium in Superbike, but I’ve never won a superbike race, so hopefully we’ll accomplish that goal soon,” Laverty said. “Yeah, Mat Mladin’s one of the best riders in the world and to finish within a few seconds of him, that’s got to be a big high for my career so far.”Pegram lost another spot when Yamaha’s Bostrom passed him ending lap 8. He Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young to the line by .052 secs. to secure fourth.Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates finished sixth, one up on privateers Ryan Elleby and David Anthony, then Hayden.A number of high profile riders had low profile days. Yamaha’s Josh Hayes crashed out of the second half of the race. National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Geoff May and Corona Extra Honda’s Neil Hodgson both jumped the start. May came in for a stop-and-go, but was disqualified for not coming in earlier. Hodgson finished 16th.American Superbike:

1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)

2. Michael Laverty (Suzuki)

3. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha)

4. Larry Pegram (Ducati)

5. Blake Young (Suzuki)

6. Aaron Yates (Suzuki)

7. Ryan Elleby (Suzuki)

8. David Anthony (Suzuki)

9. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki)

10. Mark Crozier (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.