LEXINGTON, OHIO: Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Mat Mladin took the provisional pole for the Honda Super Cycle Weekend AMA Superbike double-header with a new qualifying record at the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Course in Lexington, Ohio. Mladin was the favorite to take the pole after teammate and championship leader Ben Spies was slowed by the after-affects of surgery to remove his appendix 11 days ago. But Mladin didn’t have it easy. The six-time AMA Superbike Champion had to fend off the persistent Jamie Hacking (Monster Kawasaki). Hacking was on the provisional pole until Mladin knocked him back to second with 1:45 mins. to go in the 40-minute session, run under a warm, partly overcast afternoon. Spies jumped to third near the end, only to lose the spot to American Honda's Neil Hodgson in the final minute. Mladin's lap of 1:23.913 mins. was a few tenths under Spies’ previous pole record of 1:24.139, but not quite as fast as the 1:23.712 mins. lap Mladin ran on his way to winning the first race last year. “It was OK,” Mladin said. “Everyone seems to be liking the same race tire, so the race tire’s pretty good. We were out there on the whole session on the same one that we had on this morning just to get as many laps on it as possible. And then with about eight minutes on the clock, we put a little bit softer tire on and went a little bit quicker, but the race tire’s pretty good. As I said, the same one from this morning and pretty capable of running mid-4’s pretty comfortably and reasonably warm out there and with a tire with race laps on it. So it looks OK at the moment. See how it goes.” Mladin was thought to be suffering from a throat ailment when he arrived. He denied it, then took a jab at his recovering teammate Spies. Asked if had a virus or a cold, he joked, “I have everything like that. I have two kids and a wife who nags me every now and then, so the people that think they get their appendix out, they got it tough, they need to be married with two daughters.” Superbike Qualifying: 1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki) 1:23.913 2. Jamie Hacking (Kawasaki) 1:24.329 3. Neil Hodgson (Honda) 1:24.738 4. Ben Spies (Suzuki) 1:24.923 5. Eric Bostrom (Yamaha) 1:24.970 6. Jason DiSalvo (Yamaha) 1:25.115 7. Aaron Yates (Suzuki) 1:25.259 8. Miguel Duhamel (Honda) 1:25.479 9. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) 1:25.561 10. Roger Lee Hayden (Kawasaki) 1:25.918

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Henny Ray Abrams | Contributing Editor

Abrams is the longest-serving contributor at Cycle News. Over the course of his 35-some years of writing and shooting photos, he’s covered events from MotoGP to the Motocross World Championship - and everything in between.

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