In a cool and rainy day at Road America, Mat Mladin continued to roll in AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited.
Despite putting the No. 7 Rockstar/Makita/Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 on pole Friday, Mladin had to overcome a few challenges to win today. First, he encountered a clutch problem that prevented him from participating in the 10-minute warm up just prior to the race. Because of that and the fact that track conditions were less than ideal, Mladin dropped back a few positions at the start.
He quickly worked his way back toward the front of the field and took the lead from Larry Pegram’s No. 72 Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing Ducati 1098R heading into Turn 3 on the second lap. Mladin would not be challenged from that point on and he went on to score his ninth win in 10 tries this season and the 81st of his career.
1st – Mat Mladin Speaks…
"We had a bit of a problem in the warm up so we didn’t get to do any laps," Mladin said. "So the first lap, lap and a half, of the race I was trying to get the feel of the racetrack because I didn’t know how it was going to be. It worked out good for us, though. After that first lap, I got a bit of a feel for it and the Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000 felt good. I decided to have a go at it. I just kept trying to go."
Finishing an impressive second was Michael Laverty on the No. 8 Celtic Racing Suzuki GSX-R1000. The 2007 British Supersport champion was well suited for the tricky conditions and methodically charged from 11th on the grid to score his best American Superbike result to date. He also turned the fastest lap in the race at 2:30.803. It was Laverty’s fourth start of the season.
2nd – Michael Laverty Speaks…
"A lot of people in the American paddock don’t know who I am yet," Laverty said. "That’s the biggest result from this is people might realize I can ride a bit. I’m over the moon. We’ve got a new bike this weekend, and we’ve been getting it better in the dry every session. I think I’ve got the pace for, probably, top five in the dry. It was nice today in the wet with a bit of a leveler. I was able to just keep plugging away.
"If I hadn’t gotten such a bad start, I probably could have raced Mat for the win, but I just had to come back through from 11th. By the time I got through to second, he already had quite a gap. It was a bit frustrating from that point of view, with the win being so close, but at the end of the day, Mat is one of the best Superbike riders in the world and I was pushing him pretty hard towards the end. I even pushed him into a bit of a mistake. It’s been a good race, and hopefully if it rains tomorrow, I can repeat the performance or even go one better."
Completing the podium was Ben Bostrom with a third-place performance on the No. 2 Yamaha Motor Corp. USA Yamaha R1. It was Bostrom’s fourth podium result in his past five American Superbike starts. He also won the Daytona 200 by Honda Daytona SportBike race to open the year.
3rd – Ben Bostrom Speaks…
"The bike is fantastic, and this track’s quite fun in the rain, as well," Bostrom said. "It’s got a lot of different elements to it because there’s some patches here and there in different corners. The boys just out rode us today. I’ll look forward to tomorrow. We might get another shot at it in the wet, which will be great."
Pegram wound up fourth to secure his third straight top-five result and his fifth top five in 10 races. Blake Young, who hails from nearby Madison, Wis., rounded out the top five with a fifth-place run on the No. 79 Rockstar/Makita/Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000. Young returned to American Superbike competition this weekend after missing last month’s doubleheader at Infineon Raceway due to injury.
The second American Superbike race of the Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader at Road America goes off from a standing start at 3:00 p.m. local time tomorrow. Once again, the scheduled distance is 13 laps (50 miles).