Matt Mladin's dominance of the AMA Superbike championship slipped further today as he finished second to team mate Ben Spies at today’s race in Fontana, California.
After his third non-win of the year Mladin said: “Ben’s riding good at the moment and putting the pressure on. I know I’m accustomed to winning but the way I’ve been winning for years over here just isn’t normal. It’s fun to have a race rather than just win by 20 seconds every weekend.
American Ben Spies continued his dominance of the series with his third win of the year, passing team mate Matt Mladin on lap 14 after he made a mistake.
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He eventually pulled an astonishing 6.972 second lead on Mladin, breaking the lap record by half a second with a time of 1:22.939s (previously 1:23.374 set by Spies on Friday). He now leads Mladin in the championship by 14 points.
Mladin who led the race until lap 14 said: “We need to find something for tomorrow’s race but basically we made the wrong tyre choice. I knew the pace we could run but unfortunately the tyre was too soft and we could only hold it for half the race. We’ll pull something out for tomorrow’s race.”
Spies said: “In the first part of the race Matt and I had a bit of a gap and I was trying to save my rear tyre, but once I passed I didn’t know if Matt had a problem or not so I just kept the hammer down until I got a pretty good lead and then just chilled out a bit for the last couple of laps.”
Brit Neil Hodgson’s hopes of a podium finish were thrown away after a disastrous start which saw him 12th into the first corner.
Hodgson eventually picked his way through the field to finish 5th after a race long battle with Honda’s Miguel Duhamel who finished sixth and Ducati team mate Ben Bostrom who came in seventh.
The Brit drafted Bostrom with just three laps to go and eventually pulled more than two seconds on his team mate.
Hodgson said: “I got a really bad start and got blocked in then got passed by some privateers. Eventually I started to pick them off and started to close the gap on Miguel and Ben. But I couldn’t find a way to pass as round here you need to be on the right lines, it was really frustrating because they braked really deep and didn’t run any corner speed. Eventually I got past by them making mistakes and managed to pass them on the straight. Once I got past them I started pulling in the times and could get right on it.
“I’m going to make some small changes to the bike as it’s alright on the long corners but on the tighter stuff it just doesn’t want to turn in.”
CHECK back to www.motorcyclenews.com tomorrow for Sunday’s race report.
1: Ben Spies
2: Matt Mladin +6.973s
3: Jake Zemke +11.193s
4: Aaron Yates +19.793s
5: Neil Hodgson + 20.806s
6: Miguel Duhamel + 22.751s
7: Ben Bostrom + 22.751s
8: Tommy Hayden + 23.355s
9: Jason Pridmore + 29.305s
10: Larry Pegram + 51s
1: Ben Spies – 145
2: Matt Mladin – 131
3: Miguel Duhamel – 113
4: Neil Hodgson – 104
5: Aaron Yates – 103
6: Tommy Hayden – 99
7: Ben Bostrom – 95
8: Jason Pridmore – 86
9: Jake Zemke – 81
10: Larry Pegram - 72