Mladin Appeal for Road Atlanta

Henny Ray Abrams | August 23, 2008

BROOKLYN, NY, AUG 23: The 2008 AMA Superbike Championship may be decided next weekend at Road Atlanta, where AMA Pro Racing hopes to convene a tribunal to rule on the appeal filed by Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Mat Mladin for his disqualification from both races at Virginia International Raceway on August 16-17.

Mladin filed the appeal on Friday, Aug. 22, and its merits will be judged on Monday, Aug. 25. Daytona Motorsports Group director of competition Colin Fraser believes the appeal will be allowed.

“We haven’t seen it, so we couldn’t rule one way or the other, but I think Yoshimura Suzuki fully understands the procedure,” he said, adding, “We anticipate an appeal.”

That would separate it from the appeal filed by Erion Honda’s Josh Hayes for his disqualification from the Daytona 200. That appeal, also for a crankshaft discrepancy, was deemed “frivolous” and not allowed. Attack Kawasaki’s Chaz Davies was declared the winner.

Fraser said the hope is to select the tribunal from within the paddock at Road Atlanta, while recognizing how many people have ties to Yoshimura and Suzuki.

“We’re trying to figure out how best to proceed with the tribunal,” which would be convened well within the 45-day limit allowed, Fraser said.

The urgency of the championship dictates that an answer come as soon as possible, Fraser said, and the hope is to complete the appeals process before it has an affect on the races.

He also said the teardown was not politically motivated, though he understood some would draw that conclusion based on Mladin’s criticism of the DMG takeover of AMA Pro Racing.

“That’s not the case. There was no agenda,” Fraser said, adding that no one in the management ranks has any influence on who gets inspected. It’s routine to inspect the podium finishers in every race and others are often checked.

The trio of Yoshimura Suzuki-built Rockstar Makita Suzukis that swept the podium were all torn down. Mladin’s crankshaft and the heads on Ben Spies’ and Tommy Hayden’s GSX-R1000’s were inspected. In retrospect, Fraser said, he wished they’d checked the crankshafts in the second and third-placed bikes, not so much for legality as consistency.

If the appeal is denied, Mladin has virtually no chance of wresting the title from his teammate, Ben Spies. Spies would only need a 19th place finish in any of the final three races-two at Road Atlanta and the Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca season finale-to run his title streak to three. If the disqualification is overturned, Mladin would still have a difficult run to the championship. Even if he scored every point available, he’d finish second by one point if Spies finished no worse than second in the three remaining races.

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.