Mladin dominates AMA Superbike opener

Press Release
March 12, 2005

Duhamel takes record-tying fifth Daytona 200 win

Daytona, FL - March 12, 2005 - Yoshimura Suzuki's five-time AMA Superbike champ Mat Mladin turned in an impressive performance in the series opener on Saturday, garnering his 33rd career Superbike victory in the process. Meanwhile, Honda Racing's Miguel Duhamel took his fifth Daytona 200 victory, tying him with Scott Russell for all-time victories in America's most prestigious motorcycle race.

Mladin passed teammate Aaron Yates on lap one and was never headed again as he set off on his season-long quest for a record sixth AMA Superbike title. He attributed his convincing victory of 3.475-seconds over Ducati Austin's Neil Hodgson to Suzuki's new GSX-R1000 and his team. "The bike's amazing," said Mladin. "This is the best motorcycle I've ever ridden. Suzuki have done some hard work on the Superbike." Asked about the depth of the competition, he said, "Oh, for sure. But we're confident in our motorcycle, and I'm confident in my team. I think I have a motorcycle that, if I do a good job, and do my job properly, we can win some races. But I think those guys are going to be strong."

Hodgson's American debut on the 999R was impressive and ensured that the series' top factory teams—Honda, Ducati, and Suzuki—will be battling each other throughout the season. On this day, Suzuki riders did well, as Mladin's teammates Ben Spies and Yates took third and fourth. Spies' last-second draft pass of Yates at the finish line served notice that the young Texan will be a force in his rookie Superbike season. Honda Racing's Jake Zemke and Miguel Duhamel finished fifth and sixth on their American Honda-tuned CBR1000RRs, followed by GSX-R1000-mounted Jordon Motorsports' Jason Pridmore and M4/Emgo Suzuki's Geoff May in seventh and eighth, respectively. Honda-supported Erion Racing's Kurtis Roberts was ninth, followed by Jordon Motorsports Steve Rapp, as Dunlop-shod riders took nine of the top 10 finishing positions. Mladin staked out his claim in the championship hunt with 38 points, followed by Hodgson with 32 and Spies with 29.

The Daytona 200, reclassified by the AMA as a 600cc Formula Xtreme event in an effort to widen the margin of track safety, started off with the trio of factory Honda CBR600RR riders—Duhamel, Zemke and Roberts—in a hotly-contested affair. Roberts turned the fastest time of the race, 1:42.946 on lap 16, as the three swapped the lead regularly before the riders began pitting for fuel and tires. Duhamel's crew had the fastest time in the first of three planned pit stops, giving him a nine-second advantage that he stretched to as many as 15 seconds by the halfway point of the race. In the end, pit strategy and Duhamel's torrid pace were the decisive factors. Even with a last-minute splash-and-go, Duhamel took the checkered flag by 42.586 seconds over Roberts, while Zemke took third just 5.8 seconds behind Roberts.

"I am so happy to win this race," said an ebullient Duhamel, who at 36 joins Dick Mann as the oldest rider to win the 200. "My Honda CBR600RR was super fast, my team was incredible, and my Dunlop tires were fantastic." Of his record-tying fifth win, Duhamel said, "It feels great to win five times, Scott Russell is a great racer and it feels really good to be in his company." Duhamel's win, the largest margin of victory since 1995, ties him for the most Formula Xtreme victories at nine. Honda's podium sweep of the 200 is the third time Honda has done so, having taken the three top spots in 1985 and 2003 as well.

Next stop for Dunlop and the AMA Superbike road racing tour is the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Alabama, April 22-24. Round two features a doubleheader for the Superbike series.

About Dunlop Tires

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Source: Vreeke & Associates

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