Sears Point: Round four doubleheader preview

AMA Superbike Championship: Infineon Raceway Kawasaki AMA Superbike Showdown, presented by Supercuts PICKERINGTON, Ohio - The AMA Superbike Championship springs back into action for the fourth stop of the 2008 season on May 16-18 at ...

AMA Superbike Championship: Infineon Raceway Kawasaki AMA Superbike Showdown, presented by Supercuts

PICKERINGTON, Ohio - The AMA Superbike Championship springs back into action for the fourth stop of the 2008 season on May 16-18 at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif.

Photo Finishes
The series' most recent race weekend at Auto Club Speedway delivered plenty of drama as four of the weekend's five races were decided by 0.174 seconds or less.

Picturesque Setting
Located just 30 minutes north of San Francisco in the heart of California's wine country, the undulating Infineon Raceway circuit is one of the most scenic on the tour. The track has undergone a host of safety upgrades in recent years, which have elevated its status to that of a rider and fan favorite.

2008 is the 40th season of racing at Infineon Raceway, which also plays host to NASCAR, IndyCar, and NHRA events.

Who's Who Winners List
The AMA Superbike Championship first raced at Infineon Raceway in 1977 and the track has seen a number of the sport's icons stand on top of the Superbike podium over the years, including former world champions Freddie Spencer, Wayne Rainey, Fred Merkel, Kevin Schwantz, Doug Polen, Colin Edwards, and Nicky Hayden.


Rivalry Reignited
Rockstar Makita Yoshimura Suzuki's Ben Spies ended teammate Mat Mladin's perfect season start by claiming the pole and a pair of wins at Auto Club Speedway's doubleheader.

Spies' come-from-behind, 0.011-second victory over Mladin in Sunday's race was a highlight of the 23-year-old Texan's rapidly developing career.

The two-time reigning AMA Superbike champ's big weekend tightened up the points chase as well, although Mladin is still firmly in control, leading his rival by 20 points, 178 vs. 158, heading into Sonoma.

Legendary Company
On Saturday at Auto Club Speedway, Spies tied multi-time Grand Prix world champion Freddie Spencer for third on the all-time list with his 17th career AMA Superbike pole. The following day he tied three-time AMA Superbike and two-time World Superbike champ Fred Merkel for third on the all-time list with his 20th career AMA Superbike race win.

Win Streaks and Podium Sweeps
Rockstar Makita Yoshimura Suzuki now boasts a remarkable 32-race win streak in the AMA Superbike class. The team further demonstrated its power by sweeping the podium in the past three races. Unfortunately, Tommy Hayden, who landed four straight Superbike third-place finishes, was injured in the Supersport race at Auto Club Speedway, suffering a dislocated left ankle and broken left tibia among other injuries. The Kentuckian is currently recovering from surgery to repair his ankle.

Wall of Famer
Spies and Mladin are the pre-race favorites once again at Infineon Raceway. Spies swept the doubleheader at the circuit in '06 while Mladin has taken eight wins at the track, including doubleheader sweeps in '03, '05, and '07, and additional race wins in '99 and '04. In honor of Mladin's dominance at this circuit, the six-time champ was added to the track's Wall of Fame last year.


On a Roll
Local favorite Ben Bostrom is riding high in the Supersport class after scoring his second victory of the season at Auto Club Speedway. Bostrom now has a pair of wins, a runner-up finish and two poles so far this season.

His Graves Motorsports Yamaha teammate, Josh Herrin, is second in the championship on the strength of his consistent, podium-placing performances. So far, the 17-year-old has a win, a runner-up finish, a third, and pole position at the last race.

Breaking Up the 1-2
Erion Honda's Jake Zemke snapped Graves Motorsports Yamaha's 1-2 race and qualifying streak at Auto Club Speedway by getting between the blue duo in the last race with a second-place finish. Missing From Action

A trio of Supersport front-runners have been sidelined by early-season injuries. In addition to Tommy Hayden's misfortunes, his younger brother, reigning class champion Roger Hayden, is recuperating from a spill at Barber Motorsports Park. Also, former Spanish Supersport champ Martin Cardenas of Team M4 EMGO Suzuki suffered a broken left femur in the same opening-lap crash that took out Tommy Hayden.


Teammate vs. Teammate
Superbike and Supersport aren't the only classes to feature tight teammate vs. teammate rivalries at the front. Following a pair of missteps at the season's opening two races, Erion Honda teammates Jake Zemke and Josh Hayes finally got in a full flag-to-flag showdown at Auto Club Speedway. After 17 laps of intense battling, the two were separated by just 0.013 seconds at the checkered flag with Zemke picking up his second-straight FX win and the championship lead.

Hayes, who scored a combined eleven wins in 2007, is still searching for his first victory in 2008.

Duck in the Hunt
Leo Vince Foremost Insurance Ducati Team's Larry Pegram made the Fontana race a three-way affair most of the way. In the end, Pegram claimed his second podium result of the season and expects to be even more of a threat as his new Ducati 848 continues to develop.


First-Ever Win
Jake Holden's victory in Fontana was Honda's first ever in the Superstock class. This is all the more notable because Honda has historically been a powerhouse in the other series. Big Red leads in all-time Supersport and Formula Xtreme wins and in Superbike, was only recently passed in overall wins by Suzuki's recent domination of the class.

Holden's victory was the Corona Honda rider's second career AMA win, but it marked the first time he's claimed the checkered flag while leading a race. His first career win was scored following a red flag at the 2007 season finale at Laguna Seca.

Still in Control
While Michael Jordan Motor Sports Suzuki's Aaron Yates saw his win streak snapped at Auto Club Speedway, the Georgian still controls the class, currently leading second-ranked Holden by 18 points thanks to his two wins and runner-up finish.

Yates has an impressive resume at Infineon Raceway with wins in multiple classes (Supersport, Superstock, H-D Supertwins, and his first career Superbike win in 1996).

On the Rise
One week after Chris Ulrich gave Team Suzuki its first podium result in the 1000cc Superstock competition, teammate Robertino Pietri enjoyed the best race of his AMA career, leading the most laps at Auto Club Speedway and ultimately finishing fourth in the race. Ulrich is currently ranked third in the class with Pietri sixth.


Also occurring at Infineon Raceway is the Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup series. Now in its inaugural year, the series was created by and is managed by Red Bull as a platform for showcasing young roadracing talent between 13 and 16 years old on identical KTM RC 125's. Seven states and six nations are represented amongst the 23 riders. Former 500cc World Champion Kevin Schwantz is the series' Rider Coach. The Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup runs concurrently with the European-based Red Bull MotoGP Rookies Cup, now in its second year.

Benny's Back for More
Thirteen-year-old Benny Solis of North Hollywood, Calif., held off 16-year-old Argentine rider Leandro Mercado by 0.530 seconds at Barber Motorsports Park to claim the win at the first-ever Red Bull AMA U.S. Rookies Cup race. Hayden Gillim of Owensboro, Ky., also 13-years-old, rounded out the podium.

Local Boys
Cameron Gish, 13-years-old, from Shingle Springs, and 15-year-old Joey Pascarella from Vacaville will represent Northern California at their "home" race. Gish finished ninth at Barber, while Pascarella crashed out with two laps remaining when battling for third-place.


Both rounds of the AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited from Sonoma will be telecast nationally on SPEED. The races will be shown on Sunday, May 18 starting with Saturday's race at 10:30 am Eastern followed by Sunday's race at 10:00 pm Eastern.

The AMA Pro Honda Oils Supersport Championship presented by Shoei will be airing at 12:00 pm Eastern on Tuesday, May 20 on SPEED, followed immediately by coverage of AMA Formula Xtreme and AMA Superstock presented by Dynojet at 1:00 pm Eastern, Tuesday, May 20.

For a complete listing of SPEED coverage of the AMA Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited, log on to

Tickets are available online at

-credit: ama

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About this article
Series AMA
Drivers Larry Pegram , Kevin Schwantz , Nicky Hayden , Tommy Hayden , Joshua Hayes , Aaron Yates , Jake Zemke , Roger Lee Hayden , Ben Spies , Wayne Rainey , Freddie Spencer , Chris Ulrich , Jake Holden , Robertino Pietri , Josh Herrin , Fred Merkel , Leandro Mercado , Ben Bostrom , Benny Solis , Cameron Gish , Hayden Gillim
Teams Ducati Team