Suzuki storms onward

Spies sets new win streak record

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jun. 09, 2008
Ben Spies earned his record seventh victory in a row, winning the first of two AMA Superbike races at Road America on June 7-8.

Delays caused by thundershowers and even a local tornado sighting failed to stop Spies, who led all 16 laps in race one at the Elkhart Lake, Wis. track. The win was also the 25th in Spies’ AMA Superbike career. Despite the personal records, Spies has his eyes firmly focused on the 2008 championship.

“Right now we want to get another Superbike title and if we accomplish that by winning races and setting records, then great,” says Spies. “But basically, we need to finish in front of Mat (Mladin) and to do that we’re just going to keep doing what we’ve been doing because that seems to be working for us."

Mladin spoiled his Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammate’s attempt at extending his winning streak to eight by winning the second race on Sunday.

The six-time AMA Superbike champion had some adjustments made to his bike following the first race.

“The Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000 was a completely different bike today than it was yesterday,” says Mladin. “We gambled with a set-up change that helped us not lose time in certain areas of the track.”

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking was also in the hunt early in race two, staying close as the two Suzuki bikes ahead of him swapped leads. The wet track conditions from the weekend’s storms left damp spots on the track, and Hacking got caught in one of them in lap five, pulling him out of the draft behind the Gixxers. With Mladin and Spies out of reach, Hacking coasted to an easy third place, repeating his finish from race one.

In Supersport action, Attack Kawasaki’s Steve Rapp was the first across the line after leading the final six of eight laps. After the race, however, inspectors discovered that Rapp’s rear tire was illegally modified.

Rapp was thus disqualified, moving series leader Ben Bostrom of Graves Motorsports Yamaha to the top of the podium. Bostrom finished just 0.056 seconds ahead of Erion Honda’s Jake Zemke. Zemke’s teammate, Josh Hayes, moved up to third. Ironically, it was a post-race inspection DQ that denied Hayes a win at the Daytona 200.

Zemke earned another second-place finish in the Formula Xtreme series. He finished just over a second back of Rockwall Honda’s Aaron Gobert. Larry Pegram completed the podium with a third place finish for Ducati.

In the most thrilling finish of the weekend, Blake Young of M4 EMGO Suzuki scored his first career AMA victory with a win in the Superstock race Saturday afternoon on his home track. The Madison, Wis. native overcame a five-second deficit to pass Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates in the race’s final corners. Young rode in Yates’ draft on the final stretch and slipped through along the wall to win by 0.219 seconds.

“I looked over my shoulder and saw (Young) coming so I moved over to protect my line, and he got past me,” says Yates. “My Jordan Suzuki was running well and in the end we still brought home some good points.”

AMA racing will continue July 18-20 at Laguna Seca in Moterey, Calif when it shares the spotlight with the MotoGP series for the Red Bull US Grand Prix.

AMA Superbike top five standings

Pos. Rider Motorcycle Points
1. Ben Spies GSX-R1000 378
2. Mat Mladin GSX-R1000 338
3. Neil Hodgson CBR1000RR 293
4. Jaime Hacking Kawasaki ZX10R 292
5. Jason DiSalvo Yamaha YZF-R1 265