The race was notable however for a couple of early incidents. Mladin’s Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammate Tommy Hayden jumped the start. The race was restarted while Hayden was given a stop-and-go penalty.
The second start was clean but factory Yamaha racer Ben Bostrom crashed on the second turn, taking out Corona Honda’s Neil Hodgson and Foremost Pegram Ducati’s Larry Pegram. The safety car was brought out but the race leaders could not recognize the yellow flag. As a result, they continued around the track and after the front straight, they rounded turn one and were suddenly forced to brake hard to avoid the slow moving and ironically-named safety car. The race was red flagged soon after, and the race was restarted again.
These opening incidents shortened the race to 18 laps from its originally scheduled 23.
Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young held the early advantage, leading nine of the first ten laps. His teammate Mladin meanwhile dropped as far back as sixth before he began his charge to the front.
Mladin moved up to second on lap six and followed Young for several laps. The Australian racer finally made his move on lap 11 to take the lead. He would hold on the rest of the race to win by 1.642 seconds ahead of Young while Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates crossed the finish line third for a Suzuki sweep.
“It was obviously a good race for us today,” says Mladin. “Most importantly, it’s great to have the three Suzukis up here. That’s what we’re here to do is to try and get a Suzuki on top of the box. Today, it was good to fill the podium.”
Young’s second-place finish was his best performance since injuring his finger in a crash at the Barber Motorsports round on May 3.
“We got off to a really good start and got to lead some laps,” says Young. “I think that’s probably the most amount of laps I’ve led so far in a Superbike race, so it felt really good. The crew worked really hard for me this weekend. I really want to thank them. It got a little rough around the shop, but some guys stepped in and stepped up and filled some shoes. They took care of business and got us up here today, so I really want to give this one to the guys back at the shop and thank them very much for everything. It was a good race for us. I tried to set a pretty good pace and Mat was coming. When he got by, he kind of got a little bit of a gap on me. I tried to jump in as quick as I could to learn where he was better than me, but I just put my head down and figured anything could happen. We ended up second today and I’m really happy with it.”
For Yates, it was his third podium finish and second consecutive third-place result.
“It went okay,” says Yates. “I kind of fell in a pace and couldn’t really get going any better. I thought we could go faster. We had a pretty good run this morning, but the bike just didn’t feel like it did in the morning warm up. We made a couple little changes and we thought it was going to give us a little better feel, but I was kind of stuck in a groove there. These guys (Mladin and Young) got out there. They were going fast. I think I was matching their pace, and I don’t know how hard Mat was going, but I just couldn’t close up any ground. It just feels good to bring home a podium position for the Jordan Suzuki crew. They worked hard this weekend and made it on the podium.”
Mladin now holds a 355-228 lead in the championship standings over Hayden who finished eighth at Laguna Seca.
The 2009 AMA American Superbike Championship continues July 17-19 at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, where the Buell-supplied safety bikes will make their debut, replacing the safety car.
|2009 AMA American Superbike top five standings|
|1st||Mat Mladin||Suzuki GSX-R1000||355|
|2nd||Tommy Hayden||Suzuki GSX-R1000||228|
|3rd||Ben Bostrom||Yamaha YZF-R1||203|
|4th||Larry Pegram||Ducati 1098R||191|
|5th||Josh Hayes||Yamaha YZF-R1||182|