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Aug 28, 2005

Mladin Runs Away With Sunday's AMA Superbike Race At VIR

Yoshimura Suzuki's Mat Mladin came back from another less-than-perfect start to win Sunday's 28-lap AMA Superbike race at Virginia International Raceway.

The win was 10th win of the season, tying the single season record, and the 42nd of his career. It also extends his Championship point lead out to 21 points over teammate Ben Spies, who finished third Sunday.

Spies was beaten by his other teammate Aaron Yates, who took second, 11 seconds behind Mladin.

It was the fifth time the Yoshimura Suzuki trio have swept the AMA Superbike podium in 2005. The fourth sweep came Saturday.

American Honda's Miguel Duhamel put on a big charge to erase Spies' 10-second lead, but the French-Canadian came up 1.6 seconds short at the finish.

Duhamel's teammate Jake Zemke retired with mechanical problems while running fourth on lap 15.

AMA Superbike Race Two Results:

1. Mat Mladin, Suzuki, 28 laps
2. Aaron Yates, Suzuki, -11.009 seconds
3. Ben Spies, Suzuki, -16.886 seconds
4. Miguel Duhamel, Honda, -18.517 seconds
5. Neil Hodgson, Ducati, -28.518 seconds
6. Josh Hayes, Kawasaki, -34.130 seconds
7. Eric Bostrom, Ducati, -41.715 seconds
8. Jason Pridmore, Suzuki, -55.975 seconds
9. Steve Rapp, Suzuki, -67.021 seconds
10. Cory West, Suzuki, -87.616 seconds
11. Marty Craggill, Suzuki, -1 lap
12. Brian Stokes, Yamaha, -1 lap
13. Lee Acree, Suzuki, -1 lap
14. Eric Wood, Suzuki, -1 lap
15. Jason Perez, Yamaha, -1 lap
16. Scott Jensen, Suzuki, -1 lap
17. Akira Tamitsuji, Suzuki, -1 lap
18. Matt Lynn, Suzuki, -1 lap
19. Jimmy Moore, Suzuki, -1 lap
20. Jason Curtis, Suzuki, -1 lap
21. Tony Meiring, Suzuki, -1 lap
22. Anthony Fania, Suzuki, -1 lap
23. David Bell, Suzuki, -1 lap
24. Dean Mizdal, Suzuki, -1 lap
25. Scott Carpenter, Suzuki, -1 lap
26. C.R. Gittere, Suzuki, -1 lap
27. J.J. Roetlin, Suzuki, -1 lap
28. John Haner, Suzuki, -8 laps, DNF, mechanical
29. Marco Martinez, Suzuki, -9 laps, DNF
30. Kurtis Roberts, Honda, -11 laps, DNF, mechanical
31. Jake Zemke, Honda, -13 laps, DNF, mechanical
32. Jeremy Toye, Honda, -14 laps, DNF, crash
33. Heath Small, Yamaha, -23 laps, DNF
34. Brent George, Suzuki, -24 laps, DNF, mechanical
35. James Kerker, Honda, -27 laps, DNF, mechanical
36. Geoff May, Suzuki, DNS
37. Jake Holden, Suzuki, DNS
38. Larry Pegram, Honda, DNS

More, from a press release issued by Vreeke & Assoc, on behalf of Dunlop:

Dunlop race report: 2005 AMA Superbike series at Virginia International Raceway

Alton, VA It's going to come down to the last race of the season to determine all of the champions of the AMA 2005 Superbike series. Yoshimura Suzuki's Mat Mladin was dominant in two Superbike wins, improving his odds to collect an unprecedented sixth AMA Superbike crown. In support series action, Mladin's teammate Aaron Yates collected his fifth Superstock win to inch closer to the class championship. A victory by Honda Racing's Miguel Duhamel improved his upset chances to win a second Formula Xtreme title and Kawasaki Road Racing's Roger Lee Hayden collected his second consecutive win to keep his hopes alive for a Supersport ring.

For Dunlop, it was another impressive outing. In the weekend's five races, Dunlop-shod riders took 36 of the 50 top-ten winning positions.

VIR is predominantly a fast "right-hand" track that generates significant heat in the right side of the rear tire, particularly along the front straightaway, which curves to the right as the riders approach turn one at speeds exceeding 160 mph. Dunlop brought 2583 tires to support the factory teams and support riders in the Superbike, Superstock, Supersport and Formula Xtreme classes at VIR (as well as next week's round at Road Atlanta), including rain tires. The factory Superbike teams had three front and three rear tire options, including multi-compound rear tires utilizing Dunlop's NT (New Technology) construction. The factory Superstock riders had six front and five rear tire compound choices.

Coming into this Superbike round, Mladin led his teammate Ben Spies by a scant nine points in the championship tally. In qualifying, Mladin would pad that margin by one as he rode his Suzuki GSX-R1000 to a new track record of 1:23.986, marking his 46th career pole position and his ninth (out of a potential nine) this season. In the first Superbike race of the weekend doubleheader, Mladin was a man on a mission. Despite three red flags and two poor restarts, the five-time champ relentlessly worked his way through the pack and ultimately took the victory by 3.7 seconds. "It's not that hard to pass at VIR," said Mladin. "This track is pretty good about that. It's also a matter of being aggressive and getting through and that's what I did. Also, the front of the bike's sticking very well and I was able to be aggressive in some tight corners." With teammates Ben Spies coming in second and Aaron Yates in third, Yoshimura Suzuki swept the podium for the fourth time this year.

The results of the second Superbike race nearly duplicated the first, giving Suzuki their second podium sweep of the weekend. It was far-less dramatic, however and Sunday's race ran without serious incident. With a less-than-ideal start, Mladin once again had to work his way forward, but by lap five he had overtaken teammate Spies. He then motored away to amass a comfortable lead and took the checkered flag with 11.01 seconds in hand. In so doing, he collected his 42nd career Superbike victory while his 10th win this season ties his own record set in 2003 and that of Fred Merkel in 1984. "It's a long way from over," said Mladin. "We still have two races to go. I want to thank my guys for working really hard this weekend. Along with Suzuki and Dunlop tires, I'd also like to thank all the fans who came out." Following Mladin home was Yates and then Spies. Mladin's win, combined with Spies' third-place finish, staked out a 21-point cushion (471 vs. 450) over Spies in the championship hunt. Ducati Austin's Eric Bostrom is in third with 382.

The first support race of the weekend showcased an incredibly-tight battle between Honda Racing teammates Duhamel and Jake Zemke aboard their CBR600RRs in Formula Extreme competition. Zemke led Duhamel by just 11 points coming into the event. Duhamel gained ground in qualifying, establishing a new 600-class lap record of 126.581 seconds and picked up a point in the process. Indicative of the close racing action was the start of lap seven, when according to the AMA's timing feed, both riders crossed the start-finish line at exactly the same time. Duhamel was not to be denied; his eventual 1.136-second margin of victory was his third of the season and his 11th career Formula Xtreme win. "My bike was strong all weekend," said Duhamel. "I was going to do everything I could in order to get the win. My CBR600RR rain great and hats off to my crew, they worked really hard to get us in a position to win the race." With just one round remaining, Zemke's lead is only five points, meaning that a perfect performance by Duhamel at Road Atlanta (pole, laps led and race win) could seal his second Formula Xtreme championship. MPT Racing's Danny Eslick holds down third with 171 points.

Superstock action on Sunday morning promised more close-action racing as series-leader Yates hoped to protect a 14-point lead over Graves Motorsports Yamaha's Jason Disalvo. In qualifying, Disalvo set the fastest lap at 125.584 on his YZF-R1 despite a painful knee-injury suffered earlier in the day in Supersport practice. Yates led from the start of the race on his GSX-R1000, closely followed by Kawasaki Road Racing's Roger Lee Hayden. The two raced nose-to-tail, lap-after-lap until a red-flag on lap 14 brought the action to a premature end, giving Yates his fifth victory of the season. "The Suzuki had great grip at the beginning of the race and then the tires started slipping and I felt more comfortable," said Yates. "I expected some excitement at the end of the race and I was ready for it, so it's sort of strange for the race to end this way." An exhausted Disalvo took third. With one race to go, Yates increased his point lead over Disalvo to 21 (301 vs 280), while Jordon Motorsports Suzuki's Steve Rapp is third with 230.

Coming into the penultimate Supersport race of the season, Kawasaki Road Racing's Tommy Hayden had a chance to win his second consecutive Supersport title. He led younger brother Roger Lee by 36 points, but it would take a win to do it. And he almost pulled it off, coming just .331-seconds short of"¦ who else, Roger Lee at the checkered flag. This day belonged to the younger Hayden, who officially led every lap but the first on his ZX-6RR, taking his second consecutive win and third victory of the season. "It was a good race," said Hayden. "Tom stayed close the whole way. I was hoping he'd give me a break the last couple of laps but it didn't happen. All in all it was a good day for me." Yamaha's Jason Disalvo soldiered home to third. Tommy Hayden still holds the championship lead with 301 points going into the final round at Road Atlanta. Roger Lee follows with 270 and Disalvo is third with 240.

The next stop for Dunlop and the AMA road racing tour will be Road Atlanta, Braselton, Georgia, September 2-4, featuring a doubleheader round of Superbike action.

About Dunlop Tires

Dunlop Tires is the largest supplier of original equipment and replacement motorcycle tires in the U.S. and the only manufacturer of motorcycle tires in North America. With North American operations headquartered in Buffalo, NY, Dunlop has been making and selling high-quality tires in the U.S. since 1923. For more information, please visit

More, from a press release issued by VIR:

Mladin Leads Double Suzuki Superbike Sweep in Suzuki Big Kahuna
Nationals at VIR

Alton, Va. (August 28) Five-time AMA Superbike champion Mat Mladin led a double Suzuki 1-2-3 sweep in the two feature races for the AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited in the Suzuki Big Kahuna Nationals at VIRginia International Raceway this weekend.

On Saturday, Mladin started from pole with a track-record qualifying time but had to rebound from 15th place after falling back in the field following a red-flag restart to claim his 41st career win, with Yoshimura Suzuki teammates Aaron Yates and Ben Spies filling the podium spots. On Sunday, Mladin fell to fifth at the start but roared back to totally dominate the second race, pulling out as much as a 15sec lead.
Again, Yates and Spies finished second and third, respectively.

In Saturday's Lockhart Phillips Formula Xtreme series race, defending series champ Miguel Duhamel held off a strong challenge from Honda teammate Jake Zemke to win, with Yamaha-mounted privateer Robert Jensen finishing third.

Sunday's Pro Honda Oils Supersport series race featured a thrilling finish between two Kawasaki-mounted brothers, as Roger Lee Hayden edged his elder sibling Tommy by a razor-thin 0.022sec margin, with third place going to Yamaha's Jason DiSalvo.

Yates backed up his two runner-up Superbike finishes with a win in Sunday's Repsol Superstock series race, holding off a race-long chase by Roger Lee Hayden, with DiSalvo taking another third place. The race was red-flagged after 14 of 17 scheduled laps when Jake Holder crashed heavily on the front straight after tangling with Jason Pridmore. Holder was transported to the hospital, but was reportedly awake and alert and responding to the medical staff.

DiSalvo's performances were notable considering that he injured his knee in practice on Friday, a mishap that necessitated a trip to the hospital for treatment. Despite the pain in his knee, he put went on to take pole position for both the Superstock and Supersport races, and claimed the two third-place finishes.

The Suzuki Big Kahuna Nationals event was a huge success, with an estimated 40,000 spectators attending over the three days, and new event promoters Race Promotion Management (RPM) were pleased with the outcome.

"We are ecstatic with the way everything went for our first Suzuki Big Kahuna Nationals at VIR," said RPM vice president Cameron Gray. "From Thursday's celebrity kart race to the fan party on Friday, the live music and stunt shows on Saturday and Sunday and some of the best motorcycle racing in the world on top of it all, it couldn't have been better.

"The fans at VIR were great, and everybody seemed to have a good time. We appreciate their support, as well as that from Suzuki, Red Bull and Speed Channel, and we look forward to making this event bigger and better next year."

The VIR staff will now gear up for next weekend's Stock Car Spectacular, and the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series' VIR 400 scheduled for Oct. 7-9. For ticket information, visit

VIRginia International Raceway is a multi-purpose road racing facility, located on the Dan River between Danville and South Boston, Va., and just north of historic Milton, N.C. In addition to its 3.27-mile natural-terrain road racing circuit (designed to be operated as two autonomous, full-service courses), VIR is the cornerstone of VIR Club,
America's first motorsports country club; the VIR Raceplex Industrial Park; the VIR Gallery, which is a sales showroom for high-end collector and racing cars; the VIR Safety and Security Institute, which provides specialized training for U.S. Government and military groups; The Lodge at VIR, a 27-room hotel overlooking the track; and the Oak Tree Tavern, a full-service restaurant located within the circa-1840 Plantation

VIR made history from 1957 to 1974 and is doing so again. The 2.25-mile VIR North Course circuit on which the Suzuki Big Kahuna Nationals will take place has 17 challenging turns and 130 feet of elevation change. In addition to spectator events, the track is also available to rent for testing, driving schools and club days.

For more information on VIRginia International Raceway, visit the track's website at or contact VIR at 434-822-7700. For more information on Race Promotion Management, visit their website at or contact them via telephone at 303-377-3278. For more information on the AMA Superbike Championship Presented by Parts Unlimited, visit their website at

More, from a press release issued by Honda Racing Information:

Temperature: 31 degrees
Climate: Warm, overcast

Mixed Fortunes in Virginia

American Honda's Jake Zemke and Miguel Duhamel endured two red flags and lengthy delays in Saturday's Superbike race, but never lost focus en route to fourth and fifth place finishes, respectively, in the penultimate round of the AMA Superbike Championship at Virginia International Raceway.

Sunday was more of a challenge, with both suffering mechanical problems. Even so, Duhamel was a closing fourth, while Zemke went out just past the halfway point while challenging for the final podium position.

Saturday's race was stopped twice, each break giving the teams time to fine tune the American Honda CBR1000RR's. Zemke was in third when Sunday's race was stopped for the second time on the 13th of 28 laps, Duhamel was fifth. The final leg would be 16 laps.

Off the re-start Zemke took the lead, holding it for a lap before moving to second for four laps, then third for the next nine laps. Zemke lost the final podium position two laps from the finish. Duhamel moved into fifth, his final finishing position, on lap six.

At the start of Sunday's race, held in brilliant sunshine, Zemke bolted with the leaders while Duhamel dealt with a balky clutch. Second on the opening lap, Zemke settled into third until the ninth lap. He spent his remaining time trying to win back the third position, only to see it come undone with an electrical gremlin lap 15. Duhamel was ninth on the opening lap before a ruthless attack put him up to fifth on lap 10 and fourth when Zemke retired.

Both Superbike races were won by Suzuki's Mat Mladin. Teammates Ben Spies and Aaron Yates were second and third in race one, with Yates taking second from Spies on Sunday.

As they've done all year, Zemke and Duhamel dominated Formula Xtreme on their American Honda CBR600RR's. From his pole position, Duhamel bolted to a lead he was disinclined to relinquish. Only twice in 17 laps was Zemke able to inch ahead, and then not for long. Both times Duhamel re-passed him on the following laps.

Duhamel edged away with five laps to go and grew the lead to 1.136 seconds at the end. It was his second win in a row and he did it in record time, averaging 92.799 mph.

With only next week's season finale at Road Atlanta remaining, Zemke leads Duhamel by five points. Regardless of how they do next week, the teammates are guaranteed to give Honda a one-two finish in the standings for the second year in a row.

"There's only one race left now and it ain't going to be no picnic at Road Atlanta either," Duhamel said.

Jake Zemke, 4th, Saturday Superbike
The guys made some changes to the bike this morning and it really came around. The thing's working a whole lot better. It's still a little bit hard on the tires. I definitely was starting to slide around quite a bit on the front and the rear. We were starting to reel in (second placed Ben) Spies and I was thinking, 'Man we might be able to catch him before the end here.' I was just catching lappers wrong and catching lappers wrong and catching lappers wrong. I just kept getting them in all the wrong spots. And that allowed Aaron (Yates) to suck right up to us. I was basically a sitting duck at that point.

Miguel Duhamel, 5th, Saturday Superbike
I think we had three races in Superbike; two I was pretty happy with. My starts were not that great, but my times were terrific. I did a 25.3 with race tires. That's all we had, but they were better than my qualifying time. At the end there we did a little change, it wasn't maybe enough. Tomorrow we'll try to get something better for the Superbike and be a bit more in there. Our lap times are really competitive. We've just got to get out with the guys and run with them in beginning, like we did in one or two
of those races. We had a good shot at podium. I could see Jake (Zemke) up there and man, I've got to at least get up there. If he can do it I can do it and I got to get up there. And he got some great starts. It was terrific. It was a good race.

Jake Zemke, DNF, Sunday Superbike
Something happened to thing at 100% throttle, the thing started cutting out. But it wouldn't cut out anywhere else. It was just right on top. It wasn't just cutting out, it was coughing and burbling and sputtering. We're not really sure yet what it is. The boys will have to tear that one apart and see what happened to it.

Miguel Duhamel, 5th, Sunday Superbike
We started pretty far back and when those guys started to get going I was not able to respond because I had to get through some guys. And they were riding OK, obviously, because I couldn't get by them comfortably. So once I got by them I just tried to put my head down. I was ten seconds back. The bike was good. I figured I'd give it a shot, see what we can do. We might as well have some fun. I've got nothing else to do.

Jake Zemke, 2nd, Formula Xtreme
It was pretty decent, all except for the finishing order, I think. Other than that it was good. We had to play a little bit of catch-up this weekend. I didn't have the opportunity to test here. I had a little something going on with my elbow at the time. So we were playing catch-up all weekend to Miguel. Hats off to him. He rode great and his crew did a great job and at the end of the day we just didn't have it for him today, but we'll come back swinging next week.

Miguel Duhamel, 1st, Formula Xtreme
I've got to do what I've got to do. I've got to go out there and win everything I can, lead every lap, and a little bit in the.I wouldn't call it panic, but definitely the time to do everything I can. It was really tight tracing and I did touch Jake up in turn 14, 14A, that right-hander going in. We were both on the brakes sliding. He started turning, which we had to do and we just touched and I was happy that it wasn't too much of a big nudge or sent him off or anything like that. And then after that I just said come on, just get yourself together. Put some good laps down. And that's what I did.

Superbike Race One
1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)
2. Ben Spies (Suzuki)
3. Aaron Yates (Suzuki)
4. Jake Zemke (Honda)
5. Miguel Duhamel (Honda)
6. Eric Bostrom (Ducati)
7. Josh Hayes (Kawasaki)
8. Marty Craggill (Suzuki)
9. Jeremy Toye (Honda)
10. Lee Acree (Suzuki)

Sunday Superbike
1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)
2. Aaron Yates (Suzuki)
3. Ben Spies (Suzuki)
4. Miguel Duhamel (Honda)
5. Neil Hodgson (Ducati)
6. Josh Hayes (Kawasaki)
7. Eric Bostrom (Ducati)
8. Jason Pridmore (Suzuki)
9. Steve Rapp (Suzuki)
10. Cory West (Suzuki)

Championship Standings
1. Mat Mladin (471)
2. Ben Spies (450)
3. Eric Bostrom (382)
4. Aaron Yates (377)
5. Miguel Duhamel (341)
6. Neil Hodgson (328)
7. Marty Craggill (290)
8. Steve Rapp (268)
9. Lee Acree (265)
10. Josh Hayes (252)
11. Jake Zemke (239)

Formula Xtreme
1. Miguel Duhamel (Honda)
2. Jake Zemke (Honda)
3. Robert Jensen (Yamaha)
4. Ben Attard (Kawasaki)
5. Michael Barnes (Suzuki)
6. Opie Caylor (Suzuki)
7. Nicky Moore (Yamaha)
8. Ryan Andrews (Ducati)
9. Mike Hale (Honda)
10. Trey Yonce (Suzuki)