PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Three-time AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Champion Mat Mladin heads up an impressive field of racers coming to Infineon Raceway May 2-4 for the Supercuts Superbike Challenge, presented by Honda of Milpitas, rounds four and...
PICKERINGTON, Ohio -- Three-time AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Champion Mat Mladin heads up an impressive field of racers coming to Infineon Raceway May 2-4 for the Supercuts Superbike Challenge, presented by Honda of Milpitas, rounds four and five of the 2003 AMA Chevy U.S. Superbike Championship in Sonoma, California. Mladin joins Miguel Duhamel, Aaron Yates and Anthony Gobert as former Superbike winners at Infineon (formerly Sears Point).
Mladin, the 31-year-old Aussie who rides for Suzuki, comes into the doubleheader Superbike weekend leading the series by eight points over Honda's Duhamel. Ben Bostrom, who is returning to Infineon for the first time since 1999 after three years in the World Superbike Championship, is third in the championship points. Infineon Raceway has a rich tradition of AMA Superbike racing dating back to 1977. The 12-turn, 2.2-mile circuit has recently been reconfigured with an emphasis on making the track safer.
With a doubleheader win last month in Fontana, Calif., Mladin finally broke the winless drought he'd suffered since earning his third AMA Superbike title in 2001. Mladin now looks as if he's back on form and is aiming to become the first four-time champion in the history of the AMA Superbike Championship. Mladin is riding Suzuki's new Superbike-spec GSX-R1000, which is proving to be even better than Suzuki might have hoped in its first year in the series. Mladin last won at Infineon in 1999.
Mladin's Yoshimura Suzuki teammate Aaron Yates is another former winner at Infineon. Yates took his very first career AMA Superbike victory at the circuit in 1996 in a race-long battle with Mladin. The race featured the two aggressive riders leaning on each other much of the race with Yates slipping under Mladin on the last lap to take the win -- considered one of the most exciting in the history of the series.
Duhamel, the AMA Superbike all-time wins leader, also is the leading winner at Infineon. The Canadian, who now calls Las Vegas home, first won at the track in 1993 in a last-lap pass on Doug Polen. In all Duhamel has won four AMA Superbike races at Infineon. The 34-year-old racing veteran has turned many miles at Infineon and is happy about the reconfiguration of the circuit.
"I like the changes a lot," said Duhamel, winner of the 2003 Daytona 200. "I especially like the new section at Turns 8-9. That area is going to be a lot safer but it's going to be more exciting, too. It's the best of both worlds."
Anthony Gobert is another former winner at Infineon. Gobert, who won there in 2001, comes into the doubleheader needing to make up a lot of ground after not finishing two of the three races leading up to Infineon. Look for the Ducati Austin rider to make a big leap up from his current 20th position in the series.
The leading candidates to become first-time Superbike winners at Infineon Raceway are Eric Bostrom and brother Ben, as well as Kurtis Roberts. Eric Bostrom and his factory Kawasaki were fastest at Infineon during recent test sessions at the track. He is fifth in the series standings. Ben has not raced on the track in four years, but hopes to break through to win his first AMA Superbike victory this season. The Bostroms grew up in the Bay Area and consider Infineon a home track. Roberts, from Modesto, Calif., is still looking for his first AMA Superbike victory. He led major portions of two rounds so far this year on his factory Erion Racing Honda, so he feels he's long overdue for a victory.
Shawn Higbee comes into Infineon as the leading privateer in the championship. Higbee has parlayed three top-10 finishes into a very strong seventh overall in the point standings. Higbee, of Big Bend, Wis., rides a privately entered Suzuki.
Both Superbike races will be shown live on Speed Channel; Saturday at 5 p.m. EST and Sunday at 6 p.m. EST. For ticket information contact Infineon Raceway at (800) 870-RACE or visit www.infineonraceway.com.
For immediate post-race results, points, live transponder scoring, in-depth series and rider information, regular columnists and much more, log onto www.USSuperbike.com, the official website of the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship. <pre> Schedule of Events AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship Presented by Parts Unlimited AMA Supercuts Superbike Challenge presented by Honda of Milpitas Infineon Raceway -- May 2-4, 2003
Thursday, May 1 8:30 -- 10:30 Practice: 1. Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport 2. Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme 3. Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock 4. MBNA 250 Grand Prix 10:40 -- 11:40 Chevy Trucks Superbike Practice 12:40 -- 2:30 Practice (same order as morning session) 2:40 -- 3:40 Chevy Trucks Superbike Qualifying 3:50 -- 4:20 Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock Qualifying, Even #s 4:30 -- 5:00 Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock Qualifying, Odd #s
Saturday, May 3 8:00 -- 9:40 Practice: 1. Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport 2. Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme 3. Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock 4. MBNA 250 Grand Prix 9:50 -- 10:50 Chevy Trucks Superbike Qualifying 11:00 -- 11:20 Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport Qualifying, Even #s 11:30 -- 11:50 Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport Qualifying, Odd #s 12:40 -- 1:00 Chevy Trucks Superbike Practice 1:10 -- 1:45 Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme Qualifying 2:00 Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited Race 1 (100K - 28 laps) MBNA 250 Grand Prix Qualifying, 20 Minute Session Genuine Suzuki Accessories Superstock Race (60k - 17 laps)
Sunday, May 4 9:00 -- 11:00 Practice: 1. Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport 2. MBNA 250 Grand Prix 3. Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme 4. Chevy Trucks Superbike 12:00 FINAL EVENTS: Pro Honda Oils U.S. Supersport Championship presented by Shoei Race (60k - 17 laps) MBNA 250 Grand Prix (60k - 17 laps) 2:00 Lockhart Phillips USA Formula Xtreme (60k - 17 laps) 3:00 Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited Race 2 (100k - 28 laps)