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post #1 of 2 (permalink) Old 09-03-2006, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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***Spoiler*** AMA Superbike Race 1 & 2

Mat Mladin led a Yoshimura Suzuki sweep of the top three spots in Saturday’s first race of the Suzuki Superbike Showdown at Road Atlanta, with teammates Ben Spies and Aaron Yates joining him on the victory podium.

Mladin’s sixth win of the season, third in a row, and 49th of his career, allowed him to take back five championship points from Spies. With two races to go, including Sunday’s second race, Spies’ lead is 25 points, 593 to 568.

“I know what it’s like to be in Ben’s (Spies) position with a few races to go,” Mladin said after celebrating his eighth win at Road Atlanta and Suzuki's seventh straight. “All we can do is go for the win and keep the pressure on him for the last few races.”

American Honda’s Miguel Duhamel led the first lap, then it went to the pole-setter Spies for the next three. Starting the fifth lap Mladin made the pass in turn one and led to the finish.

The defending champion stretched his lead in a nearly linear fashion until it topped out at 5.090 seconds at the end of the 25 lap race.

Spies was never in danger of being caught from behind and finished nearly 16 seconds in front of his teammate Yates.

“I wanted to go with him, but I didn’t want to wear my hand out at the end of the race,” Spies, who broke his right hand two weeks ago at Road Atlanta, said.

With Mladin clearing out from Spies, and Spies from Duhamel, it was Duhamel and Yates that gave the crowd a race to watch. Yates put in a vintage performance, sliding the back tire in any number of corners in hot pursuit of the Honda rider.

Yates took over third by drafting by Duhamel on the backstraight on the 24th lap. Duhamel came back at him, but Yates went deep into turn ten and led to the finish.

“That one was for Suzuki,” Yates said. “The Suzuki Superbike Showdown 1-2-3 today. Hopefully we can do it again tomorrow.”

Parts Unlimited Ducati’s Neil Hodgson came a lonely fifth, after running third early in the race.

Ben Bostrom, Hodgson’s teammate, pitted for a front wheel change on the 13th of 25 laps. He re-joined the race and finished 20th.

American Honda’s Jake Zemke finished sixth, with Kawasaki’s Tommy Hayden breathing down his neck. The gap was only .163 seconds.

Kawasaki’s Roger Lee Hayden slowed at the end of the 17th lap and parked his bike just after starting lap 18.

Behind Tommy Hayden came another trio of Suzuki teammates. Jordan Suzuki’s Jason Pridmore held off teammate Steve Rapp by .040 secs., with Jake Holden 2.4 seconds back in tenth.

Saturday Superbike:

1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)

2. Ben Spies (Suzuki)

3. Aaron Yates (Suzuki)

4. Miguel Duhamel (Honda)

5. Neil Hodgson (Ducati)

6. Jake Zemke (Honda)

7. Tommy Hayden (Kawasaki)

8. Steve Rapp (Suzuki)

9. Jason Pridmore (Suzuki)

10. Jake Holden (Suzuki)


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post #2 of 2 (permalink) Old 09-03-2006, 07:02 PM Thread Starter
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Yoshimura Suzuki’s Mat Mladin won his fourth Superbike race in a row, but as he’s repeatedly said, it may be too little too late.

Teammate Ben Spies finished second, for the second time this weekend at Road Atlanta, and now has a month to think about the season finale at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course on October 1.

Spies will arrive in Ohio with a 20 point lead and will have to finish 13th or better if Mladin maximizes his points haul.

He'll also arrive with a hand that’s in much better shape than it was this weekend. The championship leader broke his right hand two weeks ago at Virginia International Raceway and said it was at 70% in Atlanta. Still, there was enough strength to keep the rest of the field at bay and for the final race he should be at nearly full strength.

This weekend he clearly wasn’t and Mladin took advantage. Mladin didn’t get a great start on Sunday, but quickly worked his way to the front and cleared out. The lead only grew and by the end it was 10.499 seconds.

It was Mladin's landmark 50th Superbike win and the third time he's swept both races at Road Atlanta. Mladin's won five of Road Atlanta's last six races.

The final podium spot was determined in the final corner. After stalking Parts Unlimited Ducati’s Neil Hodgson for the final several laps, Yoshimura Suzuki’s Aaron Yates made a daring inside pass of the English in the final downhill run to the finish line. The difference was .098 seconds.

It was the second day in a row that the Yoshimura Suzuki team swept the podium.

American Honda’s Miguel Duhamel was fifth, by himself, after running an early third.

Then came Kawasaki’s Roger Lee Hayden, who lost touch with Duhamel late in the race and had to settle for sixth.

Parts Unlimited Ducati’s Ben Bostrom got American Honda’s Jake Zemke on the final lap for seventh.

Kawasaki’s Tommy Hayden was well back in ninth and just in front of the first privateer, Jordan Suzuki’s Jake Holden.

Superbike:

1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)

2. Ben Spies (Suzuki)

3. Aaron Yates (Suzuki)

4. Neil Hodgson (Ducati)

5. Miguel Duhamel (Honda)

6. Roger Lee Hayden (Kawasaki)

7. Ben Bostrom (Ducati)

8. Jake Zemke (Honda)

9. Tommy Hayden (Kawasaki)

10. Jake Holden (Suzuki)


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