Team Yoshimura Suzuki's Ben Spies and Mat Mladin go into this weekend's final-round AMA Superbike Championship round at Lexington, Ohio both capable of lifting the title on their GSX-R1000s.
Spies leads the series by 20 points from the six-time Champion. The 22-year-old Texan has won 10 races this year and he's captured seven out of 10 pole positions. At this year's first Mid-Ohio Superbike double-header weekend in August, Spies picked up a pair of wins and he hopes to lift his first AMA Superbike crown this time around.
I broke my hand at VIR and that's been a bit of a challenge but it's better now. It's definitely healing, said Spies, who only needs to finish in 13th or better to win the Championship. It'll be cool to see the whole new race format there's no qualifying, no extra point to get for pole, just the point for leading the most laps. I just need to see who's in my heat race and how hard I have to ride my Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 to get into the main race. Then it's just a matter of getting in position and waiting for the flag.
Mladin, however, doesn't plan to sit back and allow Spies an easy job of it. He is the only six-time AMA Superbike Champion ever and he has a record 50 AMA Superbike career wins and 48 AMA Superbike career pole positions.
It will be good to go back to Mid-Ohio, said Mladin. I have to thank my Yoshimura Suzuki guys for doing a great job because we came on strong at the end of the year and now I'm looking forward to next year. Getting a kick in the pants from Ben has lit a fire under me. I won't make it so easy for him next year.
Third team rider Aaron Yates, meanwhile, earned two AMA Superbike podium finishes at the most recent double-header weekend at Road Atlanta in Braselton. A native of Georgia, he finished in third place in both Superbike races, helping Mladin and Spies create a Yoshimura Suzuki sweep of both the weekend's races.
I'm looking forward to going back to Mid-Ohio, said Yates. We had a pretty good race going on the last time we were there and I feel like we can go better this time. We got a pretty good direction for the bike from last month and I feel like we can use that to improve our result in the race. Also, I?m looking forward to wrapping up the season.