American Suzuki Motor Corporation and Yoshimura Racing believe that it is imperative to respond to AMA Pro Racing’s recent position statement concerning the disqualification in order to uphold Mat Mladin’s integrity and good reputation, and to make it clear to the public that the crankshaft in the #6 bike raced at Virginia International Raceway was a stock/production part as specified in the AMA rules. Simply stated, Mladin’s victories at VIR were the result of his championship riding ability and not an illegal advantage.
In a situation where a championship hangs in the balance, and the reputation of a rider of Mladin’s caliber is at stake, it is in everyone’s best interests to err on the side of fairness and impartiality. An independent appeal board must hear all of the relevant evidence before imposing what amounts to a terminating sanction based primarily upon unfounded and clearly partisan suspicions.
In its position statement, issued 30 minutes after Suzuki and Yoshimura Racing submitted their appeal documentation, AMA Pro Racing concludes that it acted fairly and abided by its rules when it disqualified Mladin at VIR. American Suzuki Motor Corporation and Yoshimura Racing are incredulous at this assertion, categorically disagree with it, and maintain that it is yet another reason the public needs to be fully informed of all of the events that have led to this unfortunate decision.
AMA Pro Racing based the disqualification on three areas of concern relating to the #6 crankshaft, which were: (1) variances in coloration, smoothness and texture; (2) oil delivery hole chamfering; and (3) date stamping differences. All of these areas of concern were easily explainable and related to the manufacturing process and legally permissible race preparation. Detailed information and photographs were supplied to AMA Pro Racing describing the production history and manufacturing process of GSX-R1000 crankshafts and showing that the #6 crankshaft was, in fact, a production part. (A nearly identical crankshaft taken from a production motorcycle sold in the United States was given to AMA officials as well.)
In addition, the independent analysis of Glenn Salpaka of Falicon Crankshaft Components, Inc. was submitted to AMA Pro Racing. This expert carefully inspected and compared crankshafts identical to those in AMA Pro Racing’s possession and affirmed that there were no measurable differences in the “dynamics or structure that would make one crankshaft perform better than the other.” He also determined that the differences noted by AMA Pro Racing technical officials were related to high performance wear and tear and were “normal production variances” which were well within what would be expected in “production OEM crankshafts.” Ultimately, it was Mr. Salpaka’s opinion that the #6 crankshaft did not enhance or improve engine performance.
AMA Pro Racing has obviously abused its discretion and has wrongfully tarnished Mladin’s reputation in the public eye by disqualifying him and ignoring the evidence offered in good faith. The clear implication of the sanctioning body’s conduct in this case is that it feared the outcome if a neutral tribunal had been convened. American Suzuki Motor Corporation and Yoshimura Racing believe it is essential to openly document the critical evidence they submitted which AMA Pro Racing spurned. They are therefore releasing, for the general public’s review, the extensive written history and outline that was provided to the AMA about the OEM crankshaft manufacturing process and the Salpaka analysis.
American Suzuki Motor Corporation and Yoshimura Racing recognize that, notwithstanding the deplorable actions of AMA Pro Racing in this matter, it is better for everyone involved and the sport as a whole to move beyond this unfortunate situation. The Rockstar Makita Suzuki team and all its riders intend to go on to Laguna Seca at the end of this month and prove that their dominance of the Superbike field is thanks to the native talent and skill of their racers and the superiority of the Suzuki GSX-R1000 motorcycle.
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