Events: 8-10 a.m., warm-up rides; 10:30 a.m., fan ride; 11:15 a.m., autograph session; 12:15 p.m., stunt show; 1:30 p.m., Daytona SportBike Race; 3 p.m., SuperSport Race; 4 p.m., American Superbike Race.
Cost: general admission, $48; paddock access, $15
Contact: For more information, go to www.roadatlanta.com or call 800-849-7223
BRASELTON — Mat Mladin wasted little time solidifying his win in the 20-lap AMA Pro American Superbike Race on Saturday at Road Atlanta.
The six-time AMA Superbike champion extended his season point lead thanks to a 15-second lead through the first 15 laps, finishing 15.717 seconds ahead of second place finisher Tommy Hayden.
With the win, in the first of two Superbike races this weekend at the South Hall track, Mladin now stands first in points (126), Hayden second (97) and Gainesville’s Geoff May third (71). The season point leaders finished in that same order in Saturday’s race.
"It was a good race for us, obviously," Mladin said. I just got a reasonable start and got to the lead in Turn 1 and then just put our heads down."
There was a marked theme in this, the fourth race of the season: Four Suzuki bike’s were first to cross the finish line.
With Mladin’s fourth win this season in as many races, Suzuki now has 50 consecutive wins on the circuit.
"This team’s amazing," Mladin added. "Suzuki makes amazing bikes."
Finishing a distant second, Hayden still had reason to feel happy with the end result, fighting from the second row and passing two driver’s just before the midway point. Hayden got a taste of running up front in the last race two weeks ago at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, Calif. This is Hayden’s fourth second-place finish in 2009.
"I definitely knew it was going to be a little tougher today coming from the second row, but fortunately I was able to get a good start and was up there pretty good on the first lap," Hayden said. "It kind of took me a while to work through the guys."
May’s third-place finish came at his home track, after winning the second race of his career at Road Atlanta last August in the Superstock division. The local driver says what separated him from the rest of the pack late in the race was fitness level.
"I just stayed motivated," May said. "I’ve ridden with these other guys and honestly, I don’t think a lot of them are very fit.
"They fall off the pace really quick toward the end, especially since we’re all on the same tires and the tires go off a little bit and they have to fight off the bike. They just go backward. I just stayed patient and every time somebody made a mistake, I just picked them off."
May’s comment about rider’s lack of fitness caused Mladin to chime in, "What, you don’t think I’m fit?"
May assured Mladin he knew the points leader was fit, causing Mladin to roll his eyes.
May gets another chance to gain ground on the points champion with another 20-lap race today at Road Atlanta, the fifth points race of the 2009 season.
From here, the AMA series goes to Barber Motorsports Park for the Honda Superbike Championship on May 1-3 in Birmingham, Ala.
Team M4 Suzuki’s Martin Cardenas scored his first-career AMA victory in incredible fashion in the Daytona SportBike race.
Bouncing back from Saturday’s Superpole crash that left the Colombian with a dislocated left shoulder and a tenth-place starting position, Cardenas worked his way up through an extremely tight and competitive pack for victory.
On lap 15, Cardenas took control at the front and opened up a small gap aboard his Suzuki GSX-R600. Just as Cardenas was preparing for a final-lap battle to the checkered flag, a red flag was thrown. The late halt brought the contest to a conclusion and awarded the Team M4 Suzuki star a hard-earned and long-sought after first AMA win.
After the race, the thrilled Cardenas explained, "As soon as I got to the front, I broke away a little bit and had a little bit of time. I was looking back and (Roger Hayden) was right there. I was feeling the pressure and if the race wasn’t stopped, I think it would have been an interesting last lap with passes and everything. The race was very tough because I started from 10th and to pass here is very difficult. It worked out and the bike was very good. I want to really thank the team."
Cardenas now sits second in the season’s championship chase, just two points removed from the title lead.