Pegram – Barely – In Fontana

Paul Carruthers | March 27, 2010

FONTANA, CA, MAR. 27 – Foremost Ducati’s Larry Pegram won a thrilling wind-delayed AMA Superbike final today at Auto Club Speedway, the Ohioan and his Ducati beating National Guard Suzuki’s Zake Zemke by just .094 of a second with Aaron Yates and Josh Hayes finishing just three quarters of a second behind in third and fourth, respectively.The win was Pegram’s first of the year and the fifth of his AMA Superbike career and he did it by biding his time and playing a waiting game. Then, on the 19th of 21 laps, he made his move with an outside pass on Zemke in turn three, held off the Californian in the next corner and withstood the attacks of the other three to the very end.”I got up behind Jake and was working on passing Jake and it wasn’t easy. He was strong on the front straight and he was strong everywhere on the brakes. It took me awhile and I made a move on him on the outside in I guess it’s turn three, I call it turn one, and we got a little tight there. He saw me and let off the brakes and tried to take the inside back. Once I took the lead I felt comfortable and on the very last lap I actually ran wide at the end of the backstraight and almost let them by again.”Zemke held on to second after leading 12 of the 21 laps, the Daytona doubleheader winner coming up just short of his third straight win at the finish line. Zemke had started the race from the second row after this morning’s final qualifying session was canceled because of high winds and he wasn’t able to improve his position from yesterday’s session – but he was in the lead by turn three.Yates was third, .361 of a second from Pegram, with Hayes just .742 of a second off the leader as the four crossed the line together. Yates had also led a few laps with Hayes leading five laps as he looked to be the man to beat mid-race.Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young was a part of the mix at the front for most of the race, but he ran straight in the final chicane on the 10th lap and that allowed the others to get away. Pegram and Yates were also victims of the final chicane at points during the race, but both rebounded.Rockstar/Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden wasn’t a part of the battle at the front, but he had his hands full for the duration with M4 Monster Suzuki’s John Hopkins, with the Kentuckian getting the best of the battle by a scant .004 of a second. Hopkins’ sixth-place finish was his first point-scoring ride of the young season after two non-finihes at Daytona.Eighth place, and some 35 seconds off the lead, was Pat Clark Motorsports’ Ben Bostrom, the former AMA Superbike Champion ahead of M4 Monster’s Chris Ulrich. Aussie Dave Racing’s David Anthony rounded out the top 10 finishers.

Superbike Final

1.                  Larry Pegram (Ducati)

2.                  Jake Zemke (Suzuki)

3.                  Aaron Yates (Suzuki)

4.                  Josh Hayes (Yamaha)

5.                  Blake Young (Suzuki)

6.                  Tommy Hayden (Suzuki)

7.                  John Hopkins (Suzuki)

8.                  Ben Bostrom (Suzuki)

9.                  Chris Ulrich (Suzuki)

10.                  David Anthony (Suzuki)

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.