The day’s three races were delayed by two hours and each race was shortened five laps from its scheduled distance as a band of severe storms swept through the area and tornado warnings were issued in the early afternoon.
However, not even the weather could stop Mladin’s run of dominance in 2009 AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited competition on a weekend when sevens were wild for Mladin. Mladin fittingly rode the No. 7 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 to his seventh consecutive victory to open the season and extended his lead in the point standings as he looks for his seventh career American Superbike championship. Mladin leads teammate Tommy Hayden by 77 points, 220-143, after seven of 20 rounds in the 2009 championship.
Just as he did in Saturday’s first race of the Honda Superbike Classic doubleheader, Mladin started from pole and surrendered the lead heading into the first turn. A lap-and-a-half later, however, the Australian muscled past leader Josh Hayes in Turn 5 and led the rest the way en route to a 2.745-second victory over Aaron Yates. It was Mladin’s 79th career AMA Pro victory and moved him to within seven of Miguel Duhamel’s record of 86 career wins.
1st – Mat Mladin Speaks…
"I’ve had seven in a row, and obviously nobody has had any more than seven before so we’ll see if we can go to Infineon and get another one," said Mladin, who earned his fifth consecutive Barber Motorsports Park victory and ninth overall. "The bike worked great today, we found some stuff out this morning in the warm up. I had a completely different motorcycle this afternoon and very similar lap times to what I did this morning even with the condition of the track. It was pretty good. I’m pretty happy with the bike. We definitely made some progress this week."
The runner-up result was the best of the season for Yates on the No. 23 Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000, topping a previous best ride of fifth in the second race of the Road Atlanta doubleheader last month. Mladin, Yates and Hayden were three of the six riders utilizing the 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000 for the first time this weekend and were joined on the new bikes by Blake Young (No. 79 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki), Geoff May (No. 54 National Guard Jordan Suzuki) and Chris Ulrich (No. 18 Roadracingworld.com Suzuki).
2nd – Aaron Yates Speaks…
"It’s been an up-and-down year for us," said Yates. "We got the ’09 Suzuki a couple of weeks ago, did some riding on it and got a few things sorted out. I’m really feeling good about the bike; it’s running pretty good. We had a good package in yesterday’s race also, I just kind of messed up the start on that and it put us way back. It really feels good to get up here, back on the podium and show that the Jordan Suzuki guys are working hard and the new GSX-R1000 is going good."
One day after earning his first AMA Pro American Superbike podium of the season with a third-place run, Ben Bostrom duplicated that effort on the No. 2 Yamaha Motor Corp. USA Yamaha R1. The performance moved Bostrom to fifth in the American Superbike point standings and he now trails Young by just one championship marker.
3rd – Ben Bostrom Speaks…
"The boys are doing a great job," said Bostrom. "They definitely built a winning bike today and the rider didn’t put it all together. That’s rider error. The R1 is fantastic. These guys just out-rode us today so congratulations to Suzuki, Aaron and Matt. I look forward to a great race at Infineon. The bike is great, a big thanks to the crew. I always enjoy being up here. It’s a lot more fun when you’re racing at the front so we’re going to do our best. We were hoping to move up the ladder one step today and Aaron just beat us to it. That’s all right, we have more races to go."
Bostrom finished one spot ahead of his teammate, Hayes, who came home in fourth place on the No. 4 Yamaha Motor Corp. USA Yamaha R1. Just as he did in Saturday’s first race of the American Superbike doubleheader, Hayes also led the first lap in today’s final. It was his fourth consecutive top-five result. May made it two Jordan Suzuki riders in the top five with a fifth-place run on the No. 54 National Guard bike for his fifth top-five performance in his last six American Superbike starts.
Larry Pegram came home sixth on the No. 72 Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing Ducati 1098R, and Jake Holden was seventh on the No. 100 Corona Extra Honda CBR1000RR. Holden once again stood in for the injured Neil Hodgson in both races of the Honda Superbike Classic.
While battling for third place on the second lap of the race, Young crashed at the exit of Turn 5, sending his No. 79 Suzuki cartwheeling down the track. He quickly made his way to a nearby ambulance and was taken to the track medical center. According to UAB Medical Center Coordinator Drew Ferguson at the track, Young was transferred to UAB Medical Center in Birmingham for further evaluation. He was awake and alert and more information will be provided as it becomes available. Young’s incident brought out the safety car from Laps 6-9.
Next up for AMA Pro American Superbike is a doubleheader at the Kawasaki AMA Superbike Showdown at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif. on the weekend of May 15-17.