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For Immediate Release – July 24, 2005
Dunlop race report: Round 8 of the AMA Superbike series at Mid-Ohio
Lexington, OH –Mat Mladin’s steady march to an unprecedented sixth AMA Superbike title with Yoshimura Suzuki was slowed considerably at round eight of the 2005 AMA Superbike series at Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio, July 22-24.
Mladin was convincing in his win of the first race of the Superbike doubleheader but a fall in the second race and an equally-impressive performance by Austin Ducati’s Eric Bostrom put the championship in question with four races to go. Victories by Honda Racing’s Jake Zemke in Formula Xtreme, Yoshimura Suzuki’s Aaron Yates in Superstock, and Kawasaki Road Racing’s Roger Lee Hayden in Supersport highlighted dominant performances by Dunlop-shod riders, who amassed 37 of the 50 top-ten winning positions.
In a weekend marked by hot, humid and stormy weather, the track surface at Mid-Ohio presented the riders with many challenges. Mid-Ohio is noted for its bumps and concrete patches in the corners, which greatly affect traction in the transitions between the asphalt and the concrete. The concrete patches have been ground down to smooth the abrupt transitions to and from the asphalt, but this has created grooves in the concrete, which greatly affect steering control. Wet conditions elevate the risk, as water pumps through the seams and the riders struggle to predict and manage the available traction.
Dunlop brought nearly 1800 tires to Mid-Ohio to support the factory teams and support riders in the Superbike, Superstock, Supersport and Formula Xtreme classes, including rain tires. The factory Superbike teams had five front and four rear tire options, including many multi-compound rear tires utilizing Dunlop’s NT (New Technology) construction that improves tire compound performance across a broad range of racing conditions. The factory Superstock riders had six front and six rear tire compound choices.
In Saturday’s Superbike qualifying, Mladin rode his Suzuki GSX-R1000 to a new track record of 1:26.058.The veteran rider then collected his eighth victory of the season and the 40th AMA Superbike win of his career with a decisive wire-to-wire performance that saw him finish nearly 12-seconds ahead of teammate Ben Spies. Bostrom finished third. “The Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 felt amazing,” said Mladin. “I knew we had a good bike and, as I said earlier, this is the best this bike has ever felt on this track.”
Superbike race two on Sunday provided much more drama. Bostrom took the lead from the start aboard his Ducati 999R; he never trailed as he collected his third win of the season, and it’s a good thing. Pursuing Bostrom were Suzuki’s Yates and Mladin, in second and third respectively, when they both fell on lap 11 as Yates low-sided and Mladin ran off the track avoiding him. Though they later returned to the race, the finishing order behind Bostrom was Honda Racing’s Miguel Duhamel in second and Yoshimura Suzuki’s Ben Spies in third. “It’s so good to be up here, that was a long race,” said Bostrom. “I couldn’t be more happy to get the Ducati Austin Parts Unlimited bike up here. Obviously, a huge thanks to Dunlop Tires for getting us back up here.” With four races remaining in the series, Spies’ third-place finish earned him 29 points and closed him to within nine points of Mladin in the championship hunt (397 to 388). Bostrom is in third with 334 points.
The first support race of the weekend took place on Saturday as Honda teammates Jake Zemke and Duhamel wage a fierce battle on their CBR600RRs in the Formula Xtreme event. Zemke—who grabbed the pole with a 1:28.628—took his fifth win of the season by just .373 seconds over Duhamel, while Erion Racing’s Kurtis Roberts took third to make it a Honda podium sweep. “It was a really tough race,” said Zemke. “Anytime you’re racing with Miguel its tough. I knew it was going to come down to the last lap and I made the pass going into turn one. We were riding about as hard as we could.” With two rounds to go, Zemke leads Duhamel by nine points (249 vs 238) in the championship, followed by MPT Racing’s Danny Eslick with 171.
Sunday’s first support race featured the highly-competitive 1000cc Superstock machines. Yates led briefly at the start and then took his GSX-R1000 to the lead for good on lap four, holding off a charge by Graves Motorsports Yamaha’s Jason Disalvo to take his fourth Superstock victory of the season. Jordon Motorsports’ Steve Rapp was third. “My GSXR was going good, I had a really good pace, steady, consistent,” said Yates. “We made a real good choice on our rear tire selection and it really worked out.” In the points chase, Yates leads Disalvo 265-250, with Rapp in third with 206.
Following a rain delay and the second Superbike race, Kawasaki secured the second manufacturer’s podium sweep of the weekend as Kawasaki Road Racing’s Roger Lee Hayden and Tommy Hayden and Attack Kawasaki’s Ben Attard finished 1-2-3, respectively, on their ZX-6RRs. It was a stellar performance for Roger Lee, who led all but the first lap and won his second race of the year. “It was a tough race, my pit board said plus-zero the whole time,” said Hayden. “It feels good to win, everybody’s done a good job, Dunlop tires made my job easier.” Tommy Hayden’s finish was impressive, considering he is riding with an injured hand that was operated on two weeks ago. He remains on top of the championship board with 269 points and two rounds to go, followed by Roger Lee with 233 and Disalvo with 210.
The next stop for Dunlop and the AMA road racing tour will be Virginia International Raceway in Alton, Virginia, August 26-28, featuring a doubleheader round of Superbike action.
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For more information contact:
Dunlop Motorcycle Tires
Pete terHorst, Vreeke & Associates
(800) 887-4296; [email protected]