Pegram Beats Mladin

Henny Ray Abrams | June 7, 2009

More than 10 years after his last win, Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing Ducati’s Larry Pegram won his second Superbike race after a thrilling race-long battle with Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Mat Mladin in the Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader at Road America.Pegram’s only Superbike win came at Willow Springs, also on a Ducati, in April 1999; Mladin’s total is 81. None of which mattered when the lights went out on a cool, sunny day in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin.Pegram was off like a shot while Mladin finished the first lap in fifth before beginning his march to the front.Mladin was second by the fourth lap and on Pegram a lap later. But Pegram’s 1098R had more power than Mladin’s Suzuki and stretched its legs on the long Road America straightaways.The first pass for the lead came in turn five on lap seven with Mladin holding the lead across the line, only to lead it with Pegram’s power drive down the straight. Mladin took it back in turn two on lap eight, setting up a pattern that would follow to the end. Pegram would use his motor on the straights, Mladin would pass in either turn two, turn five, or the entering the kink.Ending the 11th lap Mladin was in front of Pegram until the Ducati rider blew by on the straight, with Mladin re-taking it in turn two. But he ran wide and Pegram had his opening to motor down the straight to the hard braking left hand turn five.Pegram took the white flag with a .917 of a second advantage and Mladin was never able to get close enough to pass. He closed up in the final corner, but there was no chance Mladin would be able to stick with him on the uphill runway to the flag. The win went to Pegram by .342 of a second.Third place was decided in the right-hand kink on the final lap when Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates stuffed Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young hard enough that Young tumbled off the track. He re-mounted to finish eighth.National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Geoff May finished alone in fourth with 2.4 seconds on Yamaha’s Ben Bostrom. Bostrom’s teammate Josh Hayes ran Celtic Racing’s Michael Laverty (Suz) off the track in Canada Corner on the seventh lap, taking both down. Laverty remounted to finish 22nd a day after he’d taken second to Mladin in a driving rainstorm.American Superbike:

1. Larry Pegram (Ducati)

2. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)

3. Aaron Yates (Suzuki)

4. Geoff May (Suzuki)

5. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha)

6. Neil Hodgson (Honda)

7. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki)

8. Blake Young (Suzuki)

9. Jake Holden (Honda)

10. David Anthony (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.