Mladin On American Superbike Pole

Paul Carruthers | March 5, 2009

Rules be damned. Mat Mladin is still Mat Mladin.With the American Superbike rules dumbed down to make them closer to the now bygone Superstock rules, the man who has dominated AMA Superbike racing like no other went out and did exactly that in today’s first-ever AMA Superpole at Daytona International Speedway. He dominated.Turning a lap faster than anyone had gone all week, Mladin and the Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000 circulated at 1:37.499 – .846 of a second faster than his teammate Tommy Hayden, the man who was quickest from the “basic qualifying” session held earlier today. Hayden, who posted at 1:38.211 in this morning’s qualifying, lapped slightly slower at 1:38.345 in Superpole.Mladin was fastest in all four segments, the Australian turning it up from the earlier qualifying session and taking .920 of a second off his lap time from this morning.”Yeah, it’s a good lap for us,” Mladin said. “We’ve had to acclimate with the bike fairly quickly. It’s a brand new bike here for us this week. It goes to show how good of a sportbike Suzuki makes. I mean, we pulled it out of the truck and we’ve gone reasonably quick. I thought lap times, as far as actual lap times, were a couple seconds slower than last year, but obviously the bike’s very different. We’re reasonably happy and things are looking okay for the race and it’s only a short one, so we’ll try to get through it and I’ve got a six o’clock flight. Hopefully I’ll make it.”Third fastest was the Foremost Insurance Ducati of Larry Pegram, the Ohioan bettering his qualifying time to post a 1:38.455. Pegram topped Corona Honda’s Neil Hodgson, the Brit putting in a 1:38.479 (another to go faster than what he qualified at) to fill the front row for this afternoon’s opening round of the AMA American Superbike Championship.Row two will be led by the third of the Rockstar Makita Suzukis – this one ridden by Superbike class rookie Blake Young. Surprisingly, Young led most of the Superpole session, the young Wisconsinite lapping at 1:39.633.Young will be joined on the second row by Michael Jordan Motorsports Aaron Yates, Yamaha’s Josh Hayes and Celtic Racing’s Michael Laverty, the Irishman making his Daytona debut a successful one thus far.National Guard Suzuki’s Geoff May ended the session in ninth, one spot better than Yamaha’s Ben Bostrom. Ironically, Bostrom – one of the few riders in the field with extensive Superpole experience from his World Superbike days – slipped from sixth in “basic qualifying” to 10th in Superpole.

Superpole Qualifying1.      Mat Mladin (Suzuki) 1:37.4992.      Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) 1:38.3453.      Larry Pegram (Ducati) 1:38.4554.      Neil Hodgson (Honda) 1:38.4795.      Blake Young (Suzuki) 1:39.6336.      Aaron Yates (Suzuki) 1:39.7917.      Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:40.1778.      Michael Laverty (Suzuki) 1:40.2219.      Geoff May (Suzuki) 1:40.88810. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha) 1:41.043

Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.