Team Yoshimura Suzuki's Mat Mladin and team mate Ben Spies dominated the second leg of the AMA Superbike Championship double-header at California Speedway in Fontana today, with Mladin taking the victory by just 0.035 seconds.
The six-time AMA Champion reversed the places on his team mate as the two GSX-R1000s finished 21 seconds ahead of third-placed Eric Bostrom (Yamaha) in the 28 lapper.
Third Yoshimura rider Tommy Hayden finished in fourth place after an equally-close and exciting battle with Honda's Jake Zemke, who finished 0.0334 seconds behind.
"After yesterday, we were off from what we'd wanted to do," said Mladin, who finished second to Spies in Saturday's race. "Today, we got everything together. Right from the start, I put my head down. This is a bit of a hometown race for us so it means a lot to get a win here."
The previous day, Spies had picked up his third AMA Superbike pole position of the season with a qualifying lap of 1:23.117. Mladin was second with a best time of 1:23.711, while Hayden rounded out the front row of the grid with a 1:24.475 lap time.
At the start of the 28-lap race, Mladin took the lead almost immediately. Spies slotted in behind and they battled together for the entire race.
"I have no illusions that the season is going to be anything but tough," maintained Mladin. "It's going to be hard racing and I'm looking forward to it. I've won several championships already and it's tough racing that motivates me. Today, I was 100 per cent the whole way. There wasn't anything left on the table."
Although Spies showed his team mate a wheel a few times, in the end the defending AMA Superbike Champion brought home a very close second place. Although Spies did not win the race, he still maintains the lead in the overall championship points standings.
"I would be happier if we could have gotten the win today," said Spies. "But Mat set a blistering pace. The Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 was working great and I tried to get it done today but we fell a little short. We just need to see what we can do to come back strong for the race at Infineon next month."
Going into Sunday's race, team mate Hayden was still recovering from Saturday afternoon's crash in AMA Supersport qualifying. Even so, the new Yoshimura Suzuki rider rode hard and finished just shy of the podium.
"Today was pretty similar to yesterday," said Hayden, who finished fourth in Saturday's race as well. "I got a decent start on the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 and then I fell back a couple of positions. But after four or five laps - I don't know if it was me or the bike or both -I just felt more comfortable and started going faster for the rest of the race. So I guess I need to work on improving my starts. But all things considered, I feel like two fourth-place finishes is pretty solid."
All of Suzuki's road race teams will return for round four of the AMA Superbike Series at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California the weekend of May 18 - 20th.
AMA Superbike Top 10 Finishers:
- 1. Mat Mladin (Yoshimura Suzuki)
- 2. Ben Spies (Yoshimura Suzuki)
- 3. Eric Bostrom (Yamaha)
- 4. Tommy Hayden (Yoshimura Suzuki)
- 5. Jake Zemke (Honda)
- 6. Miguel Duhamel (Honda)
- 7. Roger Lee Hayden, Kawasaki)
- 8. Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki)
- 9. Aaron Yates (Jordan Suzuki)
- 10. Jason Disalvo (Yamaha)