Mat Mladin and the Yoshimura Rockstar Suzuki team continue to steamroller the U.S. superbike series, although the competition behind him is getting closer. In the first race of last weekend’s double-header at Barber Motorsports Park in Alabama, Mladin was closely followed to the flag by team-mate Blake Young, while the next day it was Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates dogging the Australian’s wheeltracks.
The racing was a serious mixed bag as severe weather, including periods of torrential rain and even a nearby tornado, led to awful track conditions. One of the riders caught out on Sunday was Young, who had a collision with Yamaha’s Josh Hayes while fighting for second place, and ended up being transported to hospital with reported severe injuries to his left hand.
Hayes and Ben Bostrom seem to be getting more to grips with their new R1s, both taking top five finishes on both days. However, they’ve still got a significant step to make to threaten the factory Suzuki squad.
Larry Pegram, on the sole Ducati in the series, took a pair of sixth places, not bad considering he’s still coming off a leg injury. Neil Hodgson still hasn’t returned to action after his motocross training accident, so Jake Holden (who ironically had Hodgson’s ride last year) is still filling for him, getting an eighth and a seventh.
After seven of 20 races in the schedule, the series looks like this:
1. Mat Mladin, Australia, Suzuki; 2. Tommy Hayden, U.S.A., Suzuki; 3. Geoff May, U.S.A., Suzuki; 4. Blake Young, U.S.A., Suzuki; 5. Ben Bostrom, U.S.A., Yamaha; 6. Josh Hayes, U.S.A., Yamaha; 7. Aaron Yates, U.S.A., Suzuki; 8. Larry Pegram, U.S.A., Ducati; 9. David Anthony, U.S.A., Suzuki; 10. Taylor Knapp, U.S.A., Suzuki.
The next event is scheduled for May 17 at Infineon Raceway near Sonoma, California.
AMA Daytona Sportbike
For a change from recent action, Danny Eslick and his Buell did not win the Daytona Sportbike class, as Martin Cardenas doubled on his Suzuki GSX-R600. Cardenas squeaked out a narrow win over his team-mate Jason DiSalvo in the first race, then held off Jamie Hacking on the Kawasaki ZX-6R the next day.
Eslick got an eighth and a third out of the two races, although he was well back, nearly 30 seconds in arrears, in both races.
Hacking, Eslick, and Cardenas are 1-2-3 in the standings, with only four points separating them. DiSalvo is a bit farther back, closely followed by Josh Herrin (Yamaha) in fifth, the remainder of the top 10 being: 6. Chaz Davies (Aprilia); 7. Jake Zemke (Honda), 8. Steve Rapp (Yamaha), and a tie for Chris Peris of Calgary (Honda), and Michael Barnes (Buell).