Michael Jordan Motorsports (MJM) wrapped up a weekend of exciting racing at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course with Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates capturing his third consecutive podium of the season. The Lexington, Ohio track hosted Round 8 of the AMA Pro Racing National Guard American Superbike Championship, giving fans something to cheer for as they witnessed two of the best Superbike races of the 2009 season. With just one second covering the top 10 for much of the weekend, Yates and his MJM teammate Geoff May ran strong across all three days and went into the races knowing they had winning motorcycles underneath them.
Aaron Yates, Jordan Suzuki No. 23
Known for his speed at Mid-Ohio and with an impressive win list at the Ohio track to back it up, #23 Aaron Yates came into Round 8 raring to go. Coming off back-to-back podiums at Road America (P3) and Laguna Seca (P3), Yates and his Jordan Suzuki GSX-R 1000 were on a roll and had momentum entering the weekend at Mid-Ohio.
SATURDAY RACE 1
In Saturday’s Race 1, Yates made an impressive run up to the front of the field after suffering a poor start from P2 on the grid. After settling into the race, Yates began his charge to the front, picking off rider after rider, until he found himself on the rear wheel of eventual race winner Josh Hayes. As Yates closed into position on lap 18 of 21, however, a lapped rider disrupted Yates’ determined charge to the front. After losing vital ground to the factory Yamaha, Yates, who set the fastest lap of the race (1:25.666), soon remounted the charge and was poised to continue to challenge Hayes for the lead when the checkered flag fell with Yates crossing the line a mere .183 seconds behind. With his second place finish, Yates matched his 2009 season-best finish (P2 at Barber Round 4) and gave Jordan Suzuki its third straight podium in four races, for four total on the season.
2nd – Aaron Yates Speaks…
"It was a pretty good race, though we didn’t get off the line like we hoped to," said Yates. "Some guys came by and we were a little slow getting into turn one, but we set in and had a good race. I knew it was going to be a pretty good sized pack up front and everybody was running pretty close, so it was going to be interesting to see who was there at the end. The Jordan Suzuki worked great today as the result shows and it’s nice to be on the podium again for the team and our fans."
SUNDAY RACE 2
As Sunday’s Race 2 was about to get underway, the stage was set for another strong #23 showing. With Yates topping the time sheets in Sunday’s brief morning warmup session, the veteran rider was feeling confident and hoping for his first Superbike win of the 2009 season. Unfortunately, on lap three of the 21 lap contest, Yates’ GSX-R 1000 accidentally slipped out of gear just before the front straight, causing him to go lowside unharmed.
DNF – Aaron Yates Speaks…
"The transmission hopped out of gear as I was entering the corner and that was that," said Yates. "You grab a few backshifts coming into the Carousel and as I settled into the turn, it slipped into first, which upset the bike quite a bit and I lost it. It’s too bad, as my Jordan Suzuki felt great and it was some good racing out there this weekend. That’s racing, however, and we’ll be back at it in Topeka."
Geoff May, National Guard Jordan Suzuki No. 54
National Guard Jordan Suzuki rider Geoff May and his crew came into Round 8 looking to regroup after a tough Round 7. The #54 team came out swinging, with May taking P3 in Superpole on Friday to place his Suzuki GSX-R 1000 on the front row for Saturday and Sunday’s races.
SATURDAY RACE 1
Race 1 at Mid-Ohio saw a fierce battle amongst the top eight riders for much of the 21-lap feature American Superbike race. Included in the group was May, who was a threat for the front until about the halfway point where the bike lost rear grip, causing May to slide slightly backward through the lead pack and eventually finish in eighth position.
8th – Geoff May Speaks…
"We missed it by a small amount today," said May. "The setup we went with caused the rear tire to go off a bit quicker than we’d hoped and after about mid-distance it was pretty loose. Everyone is riding so close this weekend so even the smallest issues are having a big impact. We have Race 2 coming up tomorrow so we’ll make some adjustments and get back out there."
SUNDAY RACE 2
Race 2 for the National Guard Jordan Suzuki team produced the same result, but came about it in a different manner. The front pack ran nose-to-tail all race long with less than one second covering the top 10 after Sunday morning’s warm-up. May had a back and forth race through the lead group and battled with six-time AMA Superbike Champion Mat Mladin for the majority of the contest. Unable to find a way past, May was forced to settle for another eighth place for the weekend, bringing the #54 home with his second top 10 finish of the weekend.
8th – Geoff May Speaks…
"The bike was a podium bike today for sure," said May. "It felt really good and I felt we had laptimes in us but just couldn’t get it inside the top five. While I’m not thrilled about the finishing position, I am happy with the motorcycle. Now we head to New Jersey for testing this week so we can keep pushing the National Guard Jordan Suzuki forward."
Yates exits Round 8 in eighth place in the Championship with 198 points, with MJM teammate May (199) within striking distance.