Mladin Throttles Superpole Field

Henny Ray Abrams | March 20, 2009

Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Mat Mladin made short work of the Superpole field then made equally short work of the post-Superpole press conference.Riding last, after having qualified fastest earlier in the day, Mladin lapped the 2.3-mile Auto Club Speedway road course in an impressive 1:23.404, just off the 1:23.366 former teammate Ben Spies ran to take last year’s pole. Had Mladin been on anything more than the a 2009 American Superbike, which is much less than modified than a 2008 Superbike, he would certainly have set a new lap record.In the press conference, Mladin sarcastically put the time to the superiority of the 2008 Suzuki GSX-R1000, which he and his teammates have been forced to ride following production delays with the 2009 models.”Obviously, the bike’s just better than everybody else’s, huh? I guess that’s what it is,” he said.When asked by the moderator to talk about the progress of the other riders, Mladin interrupted to say, “Well, 1.3 seconds from first to second, I wouldn’t call progress.”Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates was second fastest at 1:24.759, 1.355 seconds off Mladin’s time. Yates was the second rider of an all-Suzuki front row. Filling out the row are Mladin’s teammate Tommy Hayden and Geoff May on the National Guard Suzuki.Jake Holden qualified fifth fastest on the Corona Extra Honda as the replacement for the injured Neil Hodgson. Hodgson hopes to be released from Loma Linda University Medical Center either today or tomorrow. He was hospitalized last Sunday after suffering a collapsed lung, broken ribs, and a dislocated left shoulder in a motocross accident.Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing’s Larry Pegram qualified sixth fastest in front of the third member of the Rockstar Makita Suzuki team, Blake Young.Then came Yamaha teammates Ben Bostrom and Josh Hayes, followed by Taylor Knapp.The final 18 grid positions will be determined during final qualifying on Saturday morning.

Superbike Superpole:1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki) 1:23.4042. Aaron Yates (Suzuki) 1:24.7593. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) 1:24.8104. Geoff May (Suzuki) 1:24.8855. Jake Holden (Honda) 1:25.2546. Larry Pegram (Ducati) 1:25.4987. Blake Young (Suzuki) 1:25.7638. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:26.0339. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha) 1:26.09910. Taylor Knapp (Suzuki) 1:27.874

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.