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Laguna Seca: World stage for doubleheader

AMA SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP PERFORMS ON WORLD STAGE AT MAZDA RACEWAY LAGUNA SECA PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 1, 2005) -- The motorcycle racing world is coming to scenic Monterey, Calif., for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca...

AMA SUPERBIKE CHAMPIONSHIP PERFORMS ON WORLD STAGE AT MAZDA RACEWAY LAGUNA SECA

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 1, 2005) -- The motorcycle racing world is coming to scenic Monterey, Calif., for the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca on July 8-10. Round 11 of the AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited will be a featured part of the weekend and it will be an opportunity for America's best motorcycle road racers to compete in front of an international crowd expected to exceed 100,000.

AMA Superbike record setter Mat Mladin leads the championship coming into this weekend's event. The Suzuki ace from Australia is on pace to win his sixth AMA Superbike title. He scored a Superbike victory at Laguna in 2003 and, even though Mladin doesn't consider the circuit one where he shows his best, he is still a favorite to take the top spot on the podium in the upcoming round.

"It's a very flowing racetrack," Mladin said of Laguna. "There's no stop/start sections on the track except for the last turn. It's certainly a racetrack where my lap times over the past couple years have been really good, and in any of the Superbike fields that I've been with there, we've been pretty much the fastest for the last two years. But in saying that, if I had to match up and race against somebody, I certainly wouldn't be doing it at that racetrack. It certainly wouldn't be one that I'd pick."

Britain's Neil Hodgson returns to Mazda Laguna Seca for the first time since his days in World Superbike. Now riding for Austin Ducati in the AMA series Hodgson looks forward to racing at one of only two tracks in the U.S. that he's raced before. Hodgson's enthusiasm for Laguna Seca stands in marked contrast to that of Mladin's.

"Definitely [I'm better prepared for this race because of having raced at Laguna before]," Hodgson said. "I've got to say this is the race I've been looking forward to all year. Obviously, I know the track very well. I approach all the races the same, obviously hoping to do your best. But I've been really excited about this event."

Hodgson recently scored his first AMA Superbike victory at a wet Road America in Wisconsin.

Eric Bostrom and Miguel Duhamel join Mladin as past Superbike winners at Laguna Seca. Additionally, Bostrom has a victory in hand this year, scoring the No. 1 spot at Pikes Peak International Raceway in Colorado in May on his Ducati Austin machine. Bostrom could tie the legendary Freddie Spencer to become the only other rider to score three AMA Superbike victories at Laguna. Duhamel, who won this race in 1998, is having a disappointing season and is looking to earn his first podium finish of the season on his factory Honda.

Yoshimura Suzuki's Ben Spies is the fourth rider to have won a race this season. The Superbike rookie from Texas has been outstanding in his first full season in the premier class coming into Laguna second to Mladin. He is certain to try impressing the worldwide audience with a strong showing at Laguna.

It's been the season of Suzuki so far in AMA Superbike. Mladin and Spies' veteran teammate Aaron Yates stands third in the points. Yates has an impressive six podium finishes this year including five runner-up results. He's hoping to score his first win at Laguna this week.

Jake Zemke has shown improvement in recent races on his factory Honda, scoring his first podium of the year at Road America.

"Hopefully [we can win at Laguna]," Zemke said. "That's what we plan every time we go to the racetrack. Unfortunately, developing the bike here in America, the problem we've run into is part of our racing schedule, the races so far up to this point have been so packed together that we haven't had any time to test between the races."

Marty Craggill is the top privateer in the series so far this season. The Aussie, who rides for Mat Mladin Motorsports Suzuki, has scored seven top ten finishes putting him in a tie with Zemke for seventh in the standings.

The AMA Superbike Championship race at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will run on Saturday, July 9, and will be televised nationally on SPEED Channel, Sunday, July 10 beginning at 6 p.m. Eastern. For additional information on the big combined Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix/AMA Superbike weekend contact (800) 327-SECA or visit the website www.laguna-seca.com.

About AMA Pro Racing
AMA Pro Racing is the leading sanctioning body for motorcycle sport in the United States. Its properties include the THQ AMA Supercross Series, the AMA Motocross Championship, the AMA Superbike Championship, the AMA Ford Quality Checked Flat Track Championship and the AMA Supermoto Championship. For more information about AMA Pro Racing, visit www.amaproracing.com.

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Series AMA
Drivers Miguel Duhamel , Aaron Yates , Eric Bostrom , Neil Hodgson , Jake Zemke , Ben Spies , Marty Craggill