Mladin Early Leader at Road Atlanta

Henny Ray Abrams | April 3, 2009

Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Mat Mladin’s last lap was his fastest in Friday’s American Superbike qualifying session, to put the championship leader on the provisional pole in advance of this afternoon’s Superpole session at the Suzuki Superbike Showdown.The six-time AMA Superbike Champion lapped the 2.55-mile track in a time of 1:25.301 on a cool and windy midday. The time was nearly two seconds of Ben Spies’ pole from last year and slower than the 1:23.926 Mladin ran in the second race of 2008. None of which matters. What matters is that he was .767 of a second faster than teammate Tommy Hayden and had secured the final starting spot for Superpole.Behind Hayden (1:26.068) came National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Geoff May, who lives in nearby Gainesville, Georgia.The Yamahas were next, Josh Hayes in front of Ben Bostrom, the pair putting in their best qualifying efforts of the young season – both individually and as a team.Then came another Georgian, Milledgeville’s Aaron Yates, on the white and black number 23 Jordan Suzuki. Yates’ time was 1:27.215.Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Blake Young was seventh and only .014 secs. behind Yates, with Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing Ducati’s Larry Pegram a close eighth.Then came the privateers, Taylor Knapp (Suz) in front of David Anthony (Suz).

Friday Superbike Qualifying:1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki) 1:25.3012. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) 1:26.0683. Geoff May (Suzuki) 1:26.5774. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:26.6235. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha) 1:26.9336. Aaron Yates (Suzuki) 1:27.2157. Blake Young (Suzuki) 1:27.2298. Larry Pegram (Ducati) 1:27.3099. Taylor Knapp (Suzuki) 1:27.60710. Dave Anthony (Suzuki) 1:27.764

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.