Mat Mladin headed a Yoshimura Suzuki one-two-three for the fourth time this season at the opening AMA Superbike double-header at Virginia International Raceway.
Despite two red flags, the five-time AMA Superbike Champion won the first of the weekend's two 28-lap races with team mates Ben Spies coming in a close second and Aaron Yates following in third.
"We had a few issues, what with the red flags," said Mladin, who, with this race win, has 41 career AMA Superbike victories. "But my crew worked hard to get my GSX-R1000 running good and I'd like to thank them for that. It was a long race and an interesting race, for sure, but it was good to be pushing hard for the whole race. I enjoyed that."
Final qualifying occurred under overcast skies and in warm temperatures. Mladin again captured the pole position and the track record by posting a 1:23.986 lap time, marking his 46th career pole position and his ninth of the season.
"It was a good session for us," said Mladin. "It went pretty well and it was get to get the extra point for pole. The GSX-R1000 is just so good that it makes my job fairly easy."
Said Spies: "I felt pretty good out there. It seems that every time I go out on the GSX-R, we take a couple-of-tenths off my time."
Mladin, Spies and Yates were out in front in that order almost immediately after the start, but a downed rider caused a red flag within several laps. At the restart, Mladin got a bad start but was able to work his way up to third before a second red flag was thrown. With the second restart, Mladin got off the line a little stronger but still had to work his way through the pack, eventually passing his team mates and into the lead.
"It's not that hard to pass at Virginia. This track is pretty good about that. It's also a matter of being aggressive and getting through and that's what I did. Also, the front of the bike's sticking very well and I was able to be aggressive in some tight corners."
Spies was consistently strong off the line in all three race starts. He diced with Mladin in each segment of the race and led the most laps.
He said: "I tried as hard as I could. I knew Mat was having some problems with his bike and I tried to get a gap as soon as I could because I knew I couldn't hold him off. When he got by me, I just tried to keep my gap ahead of third."
Like Spies, Yates was up front in each restart and made the most of his talent and his Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000.
He said: "We did all we could and I just tried to work my way up to Mat. I finally got in the groove and got going and I really wanted to get my GSX-R1000 on the podium so we'd have three GSX-Rs up here and we did it."
AMA Superbike Results:
1. Mat Mladin ( Yoshimura Suzuki).
2. Ben Spies (Yoshimura Suzuki).
3. Aaron Yates (Yoshimura Suzuki).
4. Jake Zemke (Honda).
5. Miguel DuHamel (Honda).
6. Eric Bostrom (Ducati).
7. Josh Hayes (Kawasaki).
8. Marty Craggill (Mat Mladin Motorsports Suzuki).
9. Jeremy Toye (Honda).
10. Lee Acree (Suzuki).
Source: Team Suzuki Press Office