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Mat Mladin doubled up on race wins in the Suzuki AMA Pro Superbike Challenge at Auto Club Speedway this weekend where the Australian veteran swept both AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited races.
Mladin (No. 7 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000) battled with teammate and early race leader Tommy Hayden (No. 22 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000) for the second-straight day but ultimately prevailed for this third win in as many American Superbike starts this season.
"I think I’m going to have a chat with Suzuki about the teammates they keep signing up for me," said Mladin, in reference to both Hayden and former teammate and rival Ben Spies. "At the start I wanted to have a look and see what Tommy had in a few spots. There were a couple of spots yesterday that we were definitely lacking compared to Tommy and we learned a little bit from him and changed the bike. We had no chance to try it out this morning but went with it for the race and definitely were able to keep that gap between us a little bit better in those spots today."
Mladin made the winning pass on the run through Auto Club’s tri-oval on Lap 10 and steadily pulled away from Hayden, who did well to nurse his damaged Suzuki to the finish after an unintentional contact incident with third-place runner Aaron Yates (No. 23 Brand Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000).
"I got on the front straightaway, missed a couple of gears and didn’t have anywhere to go," Hayden said. "It was definitely my fault and I apologize to him for that, hopefully it didn’t cause too big of an issue for him. Mat had a pretty big lead so I just tried to hold on to second to bring it home."
Aside from the Yoshimura duo’s weekend of success, another top story from the race was the rebound of Larry Pegram (No. 72 Foremost Insurance/Ducati 1098R) from yesterday’s opening race incident. Pegram highsided just after the initial Saturday race start but recovered to finish third in Sunday’s final.
"We crashed yesterday, so I was in some pain today," said Pegram, who took advantage of the Hayden and Yates incident. "I got a little tired towards the end of the race, and I was definitely a little too tentative at the beginning of it and let those guys get away. I was happy with third, obviously something happened to Aaron (Yates), and I thought he had third pretty well locked up but something happened to us yesterday so I think we deserved this."
Fourth-place went to No. 54 National Guard/Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000 rider Geoff May who capped a good weekend after finishing third in yesterday’s race. Ben Bostrom (No. 2 Yamaha YZF-R1) also posted his best American Superbike result of the season to round out the top five. Yates recovered to finish 10th.