Suzuki sweeps as AMA Superbike returns

Mladin, Spies pick up where they left off

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Jul. 21, 2008
The AMA Superbike series resumed July 20 at Laguna Seca, sharing the bill with the MotoGP’s U.S. Grand Prix after a month-long summer hiatus.

The time off hadn’t changed very much however, as Suzuki swept the AMA Superbike podium with Mat Mladin leading the way.

Mladin finished the 28-lap race in commanding fashion, over ten seconds ahead of Rockstar Suzuki teammate Ben Spies. Perhaps seeing his teammate and rival race to a top-ten finish in the USGP spurred Mladin to make a statement of his own.

Spies started the race on the pole and grabbed an early lead but Mladin flew past him before the first lap was over and never looked back to capture his second straight win. Mladin and Spies also finished one-two in the previous race, June 8 at Road America.

“I wasn’t tired,” says Spies, shooting down speculation that competing in both races affected his performance. “Mat simply rode better than me today. We still have a pretty solid lead in the championship. We head to Mid-Ohio in a couple of weeks and I’ll try to get re-focused and back to winning races.”

Monster Energy Kawasaki’s Jamie Hacking, who also raced in the USGP, missed out on the third podium spot by Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates. Hacking held onto third place until lap 25 when Yates pulled ahead. The ‘Hacker’ made a late bid to narrow the gap but finished 0.052 seconds back to give Yates his first Superbike podium of the season.Ben Spies and Mat Mladin have been on the podium all year, but Laguna Seca was Aaron Yates' first of 2008.

Hacking’s fourth place finish was good enough to move him up to third in the season standings ahead of Honda rider Neil Hodgson.

“We got a great start,” says Hacking. “The bike launched perfect. There was a little bit of position switching at the beginning of the race and I tried to put some decent laps on the bike. I was a little [worn] out, but my main goal was to finish in front of Hodgson to get ahead in the championship standings.”

Tommy Hayden matched his younger brother Nicky’s USGP result with a fifth place finish for Rockstar Suzuki while the third Hayden brother, Roger, finished sixth for Monster Energy Kawasaki. Both Tommy and Roger Hayden were making their return from injuries suffered earlier in the season.

“My first race back went pretty good,” says Roger Hayden. “I was a little back, but got into a rhythm and made my way into sixth. I was on the end of the group battling for third. With about 7 or 8 laps to go my mind got a little lost, but I brought it home in sixth and I’m pretty happy with that.“

The AMA Superbike series continues Aug. 1-3 with a doubleheader at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio.

AMA Superbike Laguna Seca top five finishers

Pos. Rider Team Time (s)
1. Mat Mladin Rockstar Suzuki --
2. Ben Spies Rockstar Suzuki +10.113
3. Aaron Yates Jordan Suzuki +20.691
4. Jamie Hacking Monster Energy Kawasaki +20.743
5. Tommy Hayden Rockstar Suzuki +21.216


AMA Superbike top five standings

Pos. Rider Team Points
1. Ben Spies Rockstar Suzuki 411
2. Mat Mladin Rockstar Suzuki 375
3. Jamie Hacking Monster Energy Kawasaki 319
4. Neil Hodgson Honda 317
5. Jason DiSalvo Yamaha 288