MID-OHIO SET FOR 25TH RUNNING OF THE HONDA SUPER CYCLE WEEKEND PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 25, 2007) -- Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the AMA Superbike Championship together will reach a milestone on Aug. 3-5, with the 25th running of the Honda ...
MID-OHIO SET FOR 25TH RUNNING OF THE HONDA SUPER CYCLE WEEKEND
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (July 25, 2007) -- Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course and the AMA Superbike Championship together will reach a milestone on Aug. 3-5, with the 25th running of the Honda Super Cycle Weekend presented by Dunlop Tire at the challenging road course in Lexington, Ohio.
Many of the greats in AMA Superbike have won at Mid-Ohio. Hall of Famers such as Fred Merkel, Steve Wise, Kevin Schwantz, Bubba Shobert and Doug Chandler have all scored Superbike victories at the 2.4-mile, 15-turn circuit. This year Yoshimura Suzuki riders Ben Spies and Mat Mladin bring their spirited championship battle to Mid-Ohio.
Spies swept last year's Mid-Ohio doubleheader, following in the steps of Mladin and Aaron Yates, who also scored sweeps in 2003 and 2000 respectively. Spies holds a 24-point lead over Mladin in the championship. A victory is worth 36 points, so much could change in the course of Saturday and Sunday's races.
Spies and Mladin are turning nearly identical lap times during the races, but it's Spies who has generally gotten off to better starts. His early leads have given him the opportunity to get away from Mladin, as the Aussie works his way through the field.
"The starts seem to be the key right now," Spies said of recent races. "Mat and I have been running about the same pace, but I've been fortunate to get gaps early. I'm looking forward to getting back to Mid-Ohio. I had a great weekend there last year. It was one of my strongest tracks. In testing we (he and Mladin) were about the same in lap times so I think it will come down to good starts again."
For Mladin the equation is straightforward -- find a way to get a better launch out of his Suzuki at the drop of the green flag.
"I'm four or five seconds behind Ben by the time I get into second and that's it," Mladin said. "If I can get off to a good start I'll make a race out of it -- it's as simple as that."
One rider who has emerged as a factor coming into Mid-Ohio is Aaron Yates. The Georgian gave Jordan Suzuki its first AMA Superbike podium finish when he finished third last week at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca in Monterey, Calif. Yates was thrilled to be the rider to give team owner, basketball legend Michael Jordan, his first taste of success in the series' premier class.
"We have such a good group of people on this team," Yates said. "I wanted to get on the podium as much for them as for myself. Mid-Ohio is a track where I've done well on in the past. I just want to go there and try to be consistently on or near the podium and build on the success we're having."
Miguel Duhamel comes to Mid-Ohio third in the standings. The Honda ace is another former Mid-Ohio Superbike race winner and he would love nothing better than to win his first race of the season at the track he's been coming to for 18 years.
Yamaha's Eric Bostrom won at Mid-Ohio in 2005 and 2002. He'll try to give Yamaha its first Mid-Ohio Superbike win since Colin Edwards won on a Yamaha in 1994. Bostrom is still recovering from a shoulder injury suffered at Miller Motorsports Park in Utah in June.
Monster Energy Kawasaki's Roger Hayden returns to Superbike action at Mid-Ohio after sitting out the last round in California, to focus on his wildcard ride in the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix. Hayden, of Owensboro, Ky., turned in an impressive ride in the GP and may have newfound confidence coming into this week's races.