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Laguna Seca: Season finale preview

WILD WEST AMA SUPERBIKE SHOWDOWN PICKERINGTON, Ohio (September 10, 2007) -- The countdown begins on the conclusion of one of the best battles in the history of AMA Superbike racing. Yoshimura Suzuki teammates Mat Mladin and Ben Spies will race...

WILD WEST AMA SUPERBIKE SHOWDOWN

PICKERINGTON, Ohio (September 10, 2007) -- The countdown begins on the conclusion of one of the best battles in the history of AMA Superbike racing. Yoshimura Suzuki teammates Mat Mladin and Ben Spies will race for the 2007 AMA Superbike Championship in what amounts to a single race showdown at the Corona AMA Superbike Championship Finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif., on Sept. 15-16.

Mladin has twice had to charge back from fairly large championship deficits this year to take back the series lead. The first time he held the number one spot in the standings for about 24 hours after winning the first leg at Road America in June, before Spies charged back to wrestle back the lead the next day. This latest surge by Mladin is of historic proportions. The 35-year-old Australian and six-time series champ, has won six straight races, tying Spies and Miguel Duhamel for the longest winning streak ever in AMA Superbike. His most recent victory at Road Atlanta gave Mladin his 12th win of the year, setting a new single-season win mark.

This amazing run has put Mladin back in the series lead for only the second time, by a scant three points.

Looking ahead to what's essentially shaped up to be a winner-take-all duel between the sport's giants, Mladin said his mindset will not change. Already the holder of more AMA Superbike titles than anyone, Mladin said at this point in his career his priorities have changed and his goals now are all about winning races.

"My days are over of thinking about trying to tally up points to try to win championships," he explained. "I just want to get out there every weekend and do the best that I can do. Going into Laguna, I'm going there trying to win the race, and if I win the race, of course I'm going to win the championship."

Spies suffered a rare crash in the first leg at Road Atlanta, but a red-flag stopped the race and his crew was able to get his bike together in time for the restart. He went on to finish second slicing through the field from the back of the grid, perhaps saving his hopes for a title defense.

"Getting back in that race after the red flag was major for me," Spies said. "I was glad my team was able to get the bike going again. We're just going to go to Laguna now and go for the win. I mean... that's all we can do. Laguna's been a good track to us in the past, so hopefully we get it done there. It should be a good last race."

Lest anyone think they should only come to watch the race on Sunday, consider that Saturday's pole day at Laguna will be perhaps the most important qualifying session in the history of the series. The points awarded for pole and lap leader with play a major part in the title this weekend. If Spies wins the pole he'll only be two points down to Mladin and could win the title simply by winning the race. Should Mladin win the pole he could conceivable win the title even by finishing second, depending on who wins the lap leader point.

While nearly all the focus will be on the Mladin/Spies battle, many in the field will be trying to leave a good last impression as contract season approaches. Top riders such as Monster Energy Kawasaki's Jamie Hacking and Roger Hayden, Jordan Suzuki's Aaron Yates and Yamaha's Eric Bostrom and Jason DiSalvo will be trying to put in solid rides in the finale.

The Corona AMA Superbike Championship Finale at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca will air live on SPEED at 6:00 pm Eastern.

For additional event information visit the website www.laguna-seca.com

-credit: ama

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Series AMA
Drivers Miguel Duhamel , Aaron Yates , Roger Lee Hayden , Ben Spies