The woes of Yoshimura Suzuki's Mathew Mladin continued at Brainerd International Raceway Sunday during the AMA Chevy Trucks U.S. Superbike Championship Series Classic.
Two years ago, Mladin crashed on the first lap of the Classic, last year he had engine problems. Sunday, tire problems midway through the race, continued the curse. That allowed teammate Aaron Yates his second victory of the season and the first for a Suzuki in the Classic's 20-year history at BIR.
Mladin, a three-time points champion and the No. 1 qualifier, still finished seventh and is three points behind points leader Eric Bostrom, who finished fourth.
Yates passed Mladin on the 12th lap before Mladin's dire straits. He cruised to a 2.714-second victory over three-time BIR champ Miguel Duhamel.
"I've been waiting to race Mat and beat him heads up for awhile and that looks like that's going to be hard to do," said Yates, whose average speed on the three-mile course was 110.9 mph. "He always seems to have tire trouble or something but being right there battling with him definitely made me feel good. A lot of people have been telling me they want me to beat Mat so this (victory) is for the fans."
Yates, who led for 11 laps, said he didn't know Mladin pitted. He glanced over to the pit and saw plus five (seconds) on what he thought was Mladin's pit board.
After Mladin pit, Yates eased up on the front straight-away because of vibration on his bike which got worse lap after lap.
"I was still trying to go as hard as I could in the infield just to keep the lap times good," he said. "So I was thinking about every little thing and hoping it was going to be good."
For Duhamel, whose average speed was 110.7 mph, and teammate and third-place finisher Roberts, the race was good for him but not Roberts.
On the third turn of the final lap, Duhamel passed Roberts.
Aaron Yates shared a moment with his son Ashton while being interviewed Sunday in Brainerd International Raceway's victory circle by the AMA Superbike Championship Series race announcer Rich Chambers. Yates won the series' Superbike Classic at the raceway.
Both riders braked deep into the turn and Roberts went a little wide, something Duhamel was expecting. Duhamel squeezed out Roberts, forcing him to back off his throttle.
"I tried to squeeze it underneath him and I thought I left him enough room," Duhamel said. "I was sliding coming out of there and I might have miscalculated. I just don't like doing stuff like that."
He said the incident "soured" his second-place finish.
Roberts said he was already racing on the white line when Duhamel slid underneath him.
"It's racing and a good thing about racing is there's a race next week, well not next week but in a couple weeks and you know who you're teammates are and if they don't give you enough room you don't have to worry about it anymore," he said.
Roberts said he didn't have anything against Duhamel just that he knows now that the points championship is in his hands now.
-- Duhamel defeated Yamaha's Jamie Hacking by 0.182 second to win the Supersport 13-lapper Sunday. This was Duhamel's 41st-career supersport win at BIR. He passed Hacking on the last lap. Duhamel made the winning pass on the second turn
-- Steve Rapp on his Suzuki won the Superstock race Sunday. This was his second-consecutive victory in the class.
-- Rich Oliver on his Yamaha extended his perfect season to seven by winning the MBNA 250 GP feature Sunday. This was Oliver's 67th class victory.
-- Jake Zemke on his Honda won the Formula Xtreme Saturday. He took the lead with a lap and a half remaining.
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