2009 AMA Superbike Daytona results

Photo finish for second

By Motorcycle.Com Staff, Mar. 06, 2009
The 2009 AMA American Superbike season opened March 5 with Mat Mladin in a familiar spot on top of the podium.

The Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider opened the newest chapter of AMA Superbike racing with his 73rd career victory at Daytona International Speedway in Daytona Beach, Fla.

The win was Mladin’s seventh AMA Superbike race at Daytona and fifth in six years. Mladin led 10 of 15 laps after starting from the pole.

The 2009 race season features new rules and class definitions that many felt would put an end to Suzuki’s dominance of the literbike class. Mladin put that theory to rest with the win, but his rivals kept it close.

“It was an interesting race, that’s for sure. It’s always nice to get any win, obviously, and with all the new stuff this year it was really nice to get one for the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team and keep that Suzuki win streak alive,” says Mladin. “Now I’m looking forward to the next race at Fontana, and the boys will be getting home and doing a little work and doing a few things so we can go to Fontana and have a bit of a go.”

Mladin led the first two laps before being passed by Team Foremost’s Larry Pegram in the Ducati 1098R’s return to AMA Superbike racing. Pegram held the lead for three laps until Corona Honda’s Neil Hodgson took over.

Mat Mladin leans into a corner with Larry Pegram and Neil Hodgson close behind him.
Mat Mladin celebrates his seventh Superbike win at Daytona International Speedway.

Hodgson’s lead lasted two laps before Mladin regained the lead with Pegram close behind.

A setup issue, however, forced Pegram to turn off his bike’s traction control, dropping him out of contention for the podium.

Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden took Pegram’s place among the leaders and overtook Hodgson on the second-last lap for second behind Mladin. That set the stage for a dramatic final lap.

Mladin powered across the finish line for the win but only a second behind him came Hodgson and Hayden in a photo finish. A review of AMA Pro Racing’s at-the-finish-line photography gave Hodgson the nod, 0.001 second ahead of Hayden.

The results may have been different if Hayden hadn’t made a mistake at the start of the race.

“It’s a completely new starting procedure,” says Hayden. “There’s no boards. I guess we go when the light goes off, I didn’t know. I specifically read the rulebook last night, because there was stuff yesterday in the riders’ meeting, and stuff that I wasn’t aware of. And I thought I’d already read it once, and somehow I keep skipping the starting part, I guess, because I didn’t know what we were supposed to do. I was 10th, I think, in Turn One. So that’s something I have to figure out. My fault.”

Hodgson’s second place finish was his best result since a victory at Road America in 2005.

“Mat had no advantage at all, machinery-wise,” says Hodgson. “He rode a really good race and didn’t make any mistakes, and pulled it at the last five laps. But yeah, I’m pleased, pleased with second. It was really close, obviously. It always is here. I was just thinking on the way here, I passed Roger Hayden last year on the last lap, and I beat him by the same amount, like nothing. So I’m sorry to the Hayden family for that.”

Pegram finished fourth ahead of Blake Young, the third Rockstar Makita Suzuki rider.

“I’m really happy with my team, my bike, and the first race of the season,” says Pegram. “If I had full use of my traction control I could have made the podium or won the race. The important thing is that we know what to fix and I should be fighting for the win at Fontana in two weeks.”

The next round of the 2009 AMA American Superbike series is March 20-22 with a double-header at Auto Club Speedway.

AMA Amercan Superbike - Daytona top ten results
Pos. Rider Motorcycle Time
1st Mat Mladin Suzuki GSX-R1000 -
2nd Neil Hodgson Honda CBR1000RR +1.027
3rd Tommy Hayden Suzuki GSX-R1000 +1.028
4th Larry Pegram Ducati 1098R +10.117
5th Blake Young Suzuki GSX-R1000 +16.008
6th Ben Bostrom Yamaha YZF-R1 +16.213
7th Aaron Yates Suzuki GSX-R1000 +16.363
8th Josh Hayes Yamaha YZF-R1 +28.358
9th Michael Laverty Suzuki GSX-R1000 +28.433
10th Geoff May Suzuki GSX-R1000 +31.584