| From AMA Pro Racing|
PICKERINGTON, Ohio (May 27, 2004) -- Road America's Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader on June 4-6 in Elkhart Lake, Wis., marks the midway point in the 2004 AMA Chevrolet Superbike Championship presented by Parts Unlimited. The picturesque four-mile Road America circuit is not only the longest road course on the AMA Superbike tour, it is also counted among the favorite tracks by a large number of series riders. This year marks the 25th season the AMA series has visited the classic American circuit at Elkhart Lake.
Yoshimura Suzuki's Mat Mladin leads the series coming into Road America. The only four-time AMA Superbike Champion in the history of the series has five wins in eight races so far this season. Mladin is a three-time winner at Road America and is tied with Miguel Duhamel and Anthony Gobert as the leading AMA Superbike winner at Road America. Even though Mladin got off to a hot start in the series, he's coming off his worst finish of the season - a sixth at Pikes Peak International Raceway a week ago. Despite the minor setback - the result of a tire problem on his potent Suzuki GSX-R1000 - Mladin is happy with the position he's in mid-season.
"We have given back some points in the last couple of races," Mladin said, "but I'd prefer to be leading than chasing anytime."
Mladin's chasers include Honda's Jake Zemke and Miguel Duhamel. Zemke moved into second in the standings with a runner-up result in Colorado, and has drawn to within 19 points of the series leader. Zemke, of Paso Robles, Calif., is in his first full season of AMA Superbike and has been somewhat of a surprise with his incredible consistency. The one thing the well-liked Zemke does not have is a Superbike victory and after five runner-up results he'll be anxious to finally earn a breakthrough win at Road America.
Miguel Duhamel, the leading veteran rider of AMA Superbike racing, is having his best season in years. The Canadian, who now calls Las Vegas home, is a close third in the series standings and has traditionally found some of his greatest success at Elkhart Lake. Duhamel scored the doubleheader sweep at Road America two years ago. He owns three wins at the track. Last year in the Saturday race Duhamel's Honda got sideways coming out of the final turn and that cost him a chance at the win.
The new Honda factory CBR1000RR Superbikes seem to be improving each week, so look for Zemke, Duhamel and Ben Bostrom to be among the frontrunners at Road America.
Ducati Austin's Eric Bostrom stepped forward to give Ducati its first AMA Superbike win in almost five years at Pikes Peak. Bostrom comes into this weekend's doubleheader with momentum on his side. Ducati has a good history at Road America as well. The Italian brand dominated at the track in the 1990s with wins by riders Doug Polen, Pascal Picotte, Alessandro Gramigni, Mat Mladin and Anthony Gobert.
The hottest privateer team in recent rounds has been Attack Kawasaki and its rider Josh Hayes. Hayes, last year's AMA Superstock champ from Gulfport, Miss., has scored five straight top-10 finishes and moved to eighth in the Superbike standings. Faithful Kawasaki fans in Wisconsin will back Hayes whose stated goal is to earn a podium finish at some point this season.
The Suzuki Superbike Doubleheader races will be televised back-to-back on SPEED Channel on Sunday, June 6, beginning at 4 p.m. Eastern.
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The views and opinions expressed in these pages are strictly those of the authors and cannot be taken to represent the views and opinions of Formula Xtreme Promotions Pty Ltd or the Australasian Superbike Company Pty Ltd (Ausco).