Team Yoshimura Suzuki's Ben Spies clinched his first AMA Superbike title aboard his GSX-R1000 at today's final-round at Lexington's Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course as team mates Mat Mladin and Aaron Yates topped the rostrum.
In a race that was red flagged, the young Texan finished seventh; he had to finish within the top 13 to clinch the series and record Suzuki's fourth title in a row.
The race was in jeopardy earlier in the day when a dispute amongst the factory riders, track management and AMA Pro Racing resulted in the factory riders boycotting the heat races.
An accommodation was later reached that allowed them to race in the finale, though they had to start from the back of the grid behind the 10 privateers who raced in the heats.
"This has been an awesome season," said Spies. "The Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 has been great this year and I really have to thank my crew for working so hard for me all season. We had a small problem at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) when I broke a bone in my hand, but we've worked through it and brought home the championship. Now we know what to expect next year and we'll just try to go forward and come back strong for 2007."
En route to capturing the 2006 championship, the 22-year-old Texan won an impressive 10 out of 19 races. Last year was Spies' rookie AMA Superbike season and he finished in second-place overall. Prior to that, he captured the AMA Formula Xtreme Championship in 2003, the first year that he rode for the factory-supported Yoshimura Suzuki team.
"This is a great day for Suzuki," said Mel Harris, American Suzuki Vice President Motorcycle/ATV Division. "When we first signed Ben three years ago, we knew he showed great promise. Although we expected championships from him eventually, we had no idea that he'd win the Superbike title in just his second year racing the premier class. It just goes to show that Ben Spies and the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 are an amazing combination."
1. Mat Mladin (Yoshimura Suzuki)
2. Aaron Yates (Yoshimura Suzuki)
3. Neil Hodgson (Ducati)
4. Ben Bostrom (Ducati)
5. Jason Pridmore (Suzuki)
6. Tommy Hayden (Kawasaki)
7. Ben Spies (Yoshimura Suzuki)
8. Jake Zemke (Honda)
9. Marty Craggill (Suzuki)
10. Ben Thompson (Suzuki)
Source: Team Suzuki Press Office