Season win number eight put Mat Mladin (No. 7 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-1000R) back on top of the podium in AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited competition as Martin Cardenas (No. 36 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-600R) completed his second consecutive weekend sweep to earn win number five in AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL competition in the final round of this weekend’s Kawasaki Superbike Showdown presented by Supercuts doubleheaders at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California.
Mladin held off repeated attempts by runner-up Ben Bostrom (No. 2 Yamaha Motor Corp. USA Yamaha R1) to take the number one spot as the two ran like they were qualifying from the moment the green flag dropped.
1st – Mat Mladin Speaks…
"It was a tough one today," said Mladin, who holds the record for AMA Pro American Superbike wins at Infineon with nine. "I had nothing left out there today. I went as hard as I could and kept going and going and going. I got stuck behind a couple of lappers but I said (to myself) I didn’t want to give Ben a sniff, but he got one and he got pretty close. I just put my head down and went hard the rest of the way."
Bostrom spent his laps not only chasing Mladin, but holding off the charge of third place finisher Tommy Hayden (No. 22 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-1000R). Hayden threw down fast lap after fast lap at Bostrom but couldn’t get by the rider from California.
2nd – Ben Bostrom Speaks…
"It’s a tough track, one of the toughest we go to," said Bostrom. "I love it so much and I’ve always wanted to win a Superbike race here but I’ve never done it. Congratulations to Mat and Tommy, especially Mat. He rode a perfect race and it was stellar to watch".
Bostrom closed to within .608 seconds of Mladin on Lap 18 as both riders fought through traffic, but was never closer as Mladin led all 22 laps and stretched the lead to 1.833 seconds at the checkered flag. For Bostrom, his second-place finish was his highest in AMA Pro American Superbike this season.
Of the leaders, Hayden seemed to suffer the most with lapped traffic, falling back time and time again only to charge back to the rear wheel of Bostrom, but was unable to maintain enough momentum to complete the pass.
3rd – Tommy Hayden Speaks…
"It was a very tough race for me," said Hayden. "In the beginning Mat had his head down and was doing some quick laps. I just tried to hang in and stay close. I knew the bike was good over the distance of the race so I wanted to stay in and I hoped to make something happen but I made mistakes and lost some time. After that, I just tried to hang on."
Josh Hayes (No. 4 Yamaha Motor Corp. USA Yamaha R1) finished fourth as the Saturday AMA Pro American Superbike winner couldn’t mount a charge to match the front three riders.
4th – Josh Hayes Speaks…
"It was very disappointing today, especially after yesterday," said Hayes, whose victory in Saturday’s race came as the first American Superbike win of his career. "The guys worked hard on the R1 and it was all rider error. I had a headache earlier and I don’t know if it was allergies or what, but I just wasn’t feeling right. The R1 was staying up with the front riders and I was just trying to ride my race and hope something happened up front. But I started messing up, hitting the bumps and missing the lines and I just tried to hang on."
Mladin, who has won eight of the last 14 American Superbike races at Infineon, increases his points lead over teammate Hayden, 268-189. Hayes’ performance this weekend improves him from sixth position to third in the 2009 championship points battle with 160, while Bostrom’s strong performance on Sunday takes him to fourth with 150 points.
Round Six for AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited will be the Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin at Road America June 5-7.
Cardenas held off teammate Jason DiSalvo (No. 40 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600) in Sunday’s AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL race to claim his fifth victory of the season in the final round of the doubleheader in this weekend’s Kawasaki Superbike Showdown presented by Supercuts at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California.
1st – Martin Cardenas Speaks…
"Today’s race was tough like yesterday’s (race) but it was a little different because I got to the front a little early and led a lot of laps," said Cardenas. "It’s tough because of the pressure. Jason was there and I think (Jake) Zemke was there the whole time so I needed to keep focused. I knew Jason would try to pass on the last lap so I tried to ride as hard as I could and shut the door. It worked out this time; it was an awesome race."
Cardenas’ second consecutive weekend sweep of the season didn’t come easy, as the Colombian had to hold off his hard-charging teammate for the last 10 laps of the race. On the final lap, DiSalvo tried to slip by on the inside of Cardenas in Turn 11 but was unable to make the pass stick in the race to the line, finishing just .104 seconds behind the No. 36 machine.
2nd – Jason DiSalvo Speaks…
"That was everything I had," said DiSalvo, the third place finisher in the 2008 AMA Pro American Superbike points chase. "Martin ran a great race and I’d like to say congratulations to all of the M4 guys and our team owner, John Ulrich. It was a great day and I gave everything I had but it just wasn’t enough."
Third-place finisher Josh Herrin (No. 8 Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R6) led the most laps of the race after passing pole-sitter DiSalvo on the first lap heading into Turn 3 and holding off the M4 teammates for the opening 11 laps. DiSalvo grabbed the top spot back on Lap 12 as he and Cardenas passed Herrin in Turn 7. The final pass for the lead came in Lap 13 as Cardenas snuck past DiSalvo under hard braking in Turn 9.
3rd – Josh Herrin Speaks…
"It went pretty good," said Herrin. "I can’t complain after yesterday’s race when I got a rock in my radiator. Today it was just rider error on tire choice and it paid off for those guys (M4 Suzuki). I hope we can go to Road America and be strong."
Tommy Aquino (No. 6 Team Graves Yamaha YXF-R6) ran in fifth most of the day but passed 2008 Formula Xtreme Champion and eventual fifth-place finisher Jake Zemke (No. 1X Erion Racing Honda CBR600RR) on the final lap to finish fourth.
Cardenas takes 203 championship points into the next round, with Jamie Hacking (No. 88 Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R) slipping to second with 179 points and Danny Eslick (No. 9 Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Racing/RMR Buell 1125R) falling to third with 168 points.
Round Six for AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL will be the Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin at Road America from June 5 – 7.