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AMA Superbikes get to the pointy end

Discussion in 'Racing, Motorsports, and Track Days' started by rc36, Aug 26, 2005.

  1. This weekend's doubleheader at VIR is the 2nd last round of the AMA Superbike series for 2005. It will be followed by another doubleheader next weekend at Road Atlanta.

    Series leader Matt Mladin, has had his points lead pruned by a couple of unlucky performances, including being taken out by his own team mate last time out, but has a 9 point lead over fellow Yoshimura Suzuki rider, Ben Spies.

    A good performance in the 2 races this weekend COULD net Mladin his SIXTH AMA Superbike crown.
  2. He has been testing super well at VIR. Clearly the fastest guy there.

    It's funny because he has dominated the competition pretty much all season yet still only has a 9 point lead?

    I always wanted to see him on a competitive MotoGP bike, but he has never really been offered the right ride.
  3. A month off didn’t slow Yoshimura Suzuki’s Mat Mladin. In his first race since being taken out of the second leg at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course, the championship leader sped to the fastest time in the first qualifying session for the Suzuki Big Kahuna Nationals at Virginia International Raceway.

    “The session went pretty good,” Mladin said. “We were consistently right there in the low 25s. It was pretty slow actually. It was a tough session. Tomorrow is going to be one of those same old races where… this racetrack is hard to do 20 whatever it is very, very fast laps. The tires go and this and that. I know I was struggling a little bit and hopefully everyone else is.”

    Mladin’s best around the 2.25-mile road course was a 1:24.933, off Miguel Duhamel’s 2004 pole time, but still 0.3 seconds ahead of second fastest teammate Ben Spies. (Duhamel’s time was done with a qualifying tire.) Can Mladin go faster?

    “We’ll see what happens,” he said. “I think tomorrow morning we have 30 minutes maybe so we’ll see how it looks after 15 minutes. We’ll be ready to put something softer in, a softer race tire. We’ll just wait and see. This morning my lap times would have been quick for me because I had a good groove going, but there were that many people on the racetrack I just couldn’t get going. If I can get in a groove tomorrow morning with race tires, I think we can do some good lap times for sure.”

    With two rounds, four races, remaining in the 2005 AMA Superbike Championship, and only a nine point lead over Spies, every point counts, including the one Mladin could earn for taking the pole. So far this season, he's taken every pole position.

    American Honda’s Jake Zemke was third fastest, over a second slower than Mladin, and at the front of a quartet separated by less than a tenth of a second. Ducati Austin’s Neil Hodgson, who filled out the provisional front row, was marginally in front of American Honda’s Miguel Duhamel and Yoshimura Suzuki’s Aaron Yates.

    The second row was completed by Ducati Austin’s Eric Bostrom, about half a second off Yates, and the Attack Kawasaki of Josh Hayes, first of the non-factory bikes.

    Superbike Qualifying:

    1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki) 1:24.933

    2. Ben Spies (Suzuki) 1:25.293

    3. Jake Zemke (Honda) 1:26.038

    4. Neil Hodgson (Ducati) 1:26.076

    5. Miguel Duhamel (Honda) 1:26.093

    6. Aaron Yates (Suzuki) 1:26.115

    7. Eric Bostrom (Ducati) 1:26.599

    8. Josh Hayes (Kawasaki) 1:26.656

    9. Geoff May (Suzuki) 1:26.758

    10. Jacob Holden (Suzuki) 1:27.001
  4. Yeh, I've been trying to find out how the points breakdown works, but even the AMA website itself doesn't explain it.

    It does seem strange that he has won so mnay times and got so many pole positions (which also get you an extra point) and he's not further in front)

    As far as MotoGP is concerned, Matt has said that he's not interested in going. I think his bad experience in 1995 when he was plucked from the Aussie Superbikes and put on a 500cc Cagiva when he was much too young and inexperienced, has probably put him off it for life.
  5. Mladin does the Double again.

    August 28, 2005

    Chris Martin

    Mat Mladin put the finishing touches on his AMA Superbike double-victory weekend at Virginia International Raceway on Sunday in a one-sided affair. Today's win was the reigning champ’s tenth of the year, tying the record for most wins in a single season held by himself (’03) and Fred Merkel (’84). It also bumped Mladin’s all-time mark in career victories up to an astonishing 42.

    AMA Superbike race results
    While Saturday’s win came following a bizarre, twice-stopped contest in which the five-time AMA king was forced to charge up through the field on three separate occasions, Sunday’s triumph was of the more conventional fashion. The Yoshimura Suzuki ace did struggle a bit off the line (and nearly came together with Ducati Austin’s Neil Hodgson going into Turn 1), but he was secure in fifth by the conclusion of the opening lap and working his way forward.

    Four additional laps of deftly carving up his challengers saw the Australian move into the lead and effectively end the race. He pulled an immediate gap on early leader Ben Spies, which he slowly built up to more than eleven seconds before taking the checkered flag.

    “It was a good race for us,” Mladin remarked. “We got a little bit better start. We still had a bit of a problem, but after looking at all the data last night I realized it’s probably mostly my fault, the way I’m starting the bike. So I need to figure out how to start again, but hopefully by Atlanta next week we’ll sort a couple things out, but definitely today was better.

    “It just bogged a little bit -- pushed us back to fifth or sixth -- and the we made our way through. It was a good race. It’s nice to get the win and I look forward to next weekend.”

    Mladin’s only close call of the day was the aforementioned near-collision with Hodgson while rushing into Turn 1 for the first time. When asked about the moment, he said, “I don’t really understand the guy’s deal to be honest with you. I don’t know if he thinks the race is going to be won in the first corner or not, but it certainly isn’t. It was quite dangerous actually. I had to really get off the gas or else I was going to go into the grass. He just savagely cut me off. I’m going to have a word with him after I get out of here and see what the deal was and sort it out.”

    After Mladin worked past Spies, the young Texan was quickly gobbled up by American Honda’s Jake Zemke and third Yosh runner Aaron Yates. The Georgian took the Honda pilot in Turn 1 on lap 9 of 28 and then passed Spies in the same corner two laps later.

    Zemke looked like he might follow Yates past Spies but instead pulled into the pits and out of the race on lap 15 with an unidentified problem.

    From that point on, the race was a largely processional affair with significant gaps regularly separating the riders in the top ten.

    Yates brought his GSX-R1000 home safe in second. After the race he said, “The race went pretty well for me, I come up second place. It wasn’t much of a battle. I got off the line a little slow and ran behind Jake and Ben for a while. They started slowing down a little bit and I was keeping my pace. I got by them -- Ben made it easy for me. He got into Turn 1 real hot and I was actually right there with him and was kind of wondering if I was going to get it turned. But I was able to turn it up under him and went on and just tried to keep a good steady pace.”

    Spies picked up his twelfth podium finish of the season and gave Suzuki their fifth podium sweep on 2005.

    After surviving a late scare from a charging Miguel DuHamel, the rookie remarked, “We got off to a good start and it was going relatively good, I guess. We started going backwards, and all the way through the year I’ve been concentrating on being strong at the end of the race. On the riding level right now we’re definitely not where Mat is even if the bike’s set-up. But the bike not being where I needed is hurting a lot, and that’s 90% my fault too. We’re going to just keep chipping away and hopefully get a set-up on the thing and be strong at the end of races again. If it’s a bad weekend and we got third, we’ll take it and just move to Atlanta.”

    Behind DuHamel, Hodgson carried on to pick up fifth after making an early pass on teammate Eric Bostrom. Attack Kawasaki’s Josh Hayes worked past the Californian as well and kept in touch with the former World Superbike champ for a time before falling to a lonely sixth.

    Bostrom claimed, followed by Jordan Motorsports’ teammates Jason Pridmore and Steve Rapp. Team Hotbodies Racing’s Cory West topped Mat Mladin Motorsports’ Marty Craggill in a close battle for tenth.

    Heading into next weekend’s Road Atlanta season finale, Mladin boasts 471 points. Spies is still in contention with 450.

    Courtesy AMASuperbike.com