Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Mat Mladin took his third consecutive American Superbike Superpole with a quick lap on a cool day at Road Atlanta.Starting last of the top 10, by virtue of his fast qualifying time, Mladin lapped the 2.55-mile, 12-turn track in 1:25.280, just quicker than he’d gone in qualifying. The lap was best by a massive 1.6 seconds, which doesn’t bode well for the competition.
Mladin also added one point to his championship total, which now stands at 95 to 72 for teammate Tommy Hayden. Hayden had qualified second in the morning, but an off lap in Superpole dropped him to seventh on the grid.”Yeah, it was a good lap for us,” Mladin said. “I think there’s quite a bit more out there, but in conditions like today – it’s quite cool – and the left side of the tire just never came around. And in the end we should have used the race tire. It would’ve been better.”But we tried something and it wasn’t too bad, but it wasn’t great. Too much rubber to get heated up in that amount of time. so the left side was pretty average, the right side was clean and we got enough temperature in it to do a decent job.”Second in Superpole went to Yamaha’s Josh Hayes, by far his or Yamaha’s best qualifying effort of the young season. But his time of 1:26.902 still trailed Mladin by more than 1.6 secs. Teammate Ben Bostrom finished fifth.”Superpole hasn’t been my forte,” Hayes began, “so I just tried to put in a clean lap with no mistakes. I’m quite surprised it got me P-2, especially with this big of a time gap. I thought a lot of these guys would be a little bit closer to him. We’ll see, we’ll see how tomorrow goes.”The front row was filled out by Suzukis. National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Geoff May was a popular fourth in front of the home crowd. May lives in nearby Gainesville. Mladin’s teammate Blake Young qualified fourth. May was disappointed that he “left a little bit on the table out there. I guess I’m feeling pretty good. Make a couple mistakes and still end up here with these guys. I definitely lost a lot on the table out there. Got into five and screwed up; got out by the wall and spun the thing and then wheelied and bogged it all the way down to turn six. Then I sat up early for the last corner. Just didn’t really have my head together that time, but we’ll get it together for the race. That’s what matters.”Next to Bostrom were Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing Ducati’s Larry Pegram, Hayden, and Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates.
Superpole:1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki) 1:25.2802. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:26.9023. Geoff May (Suzuki) 1:26.9434. Blake Young (Suzuki) 1:27.0725. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha) 1:27.2576. Larry Pegram (Ducati) 1:27.5587. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) 1:27.6128. Aaron Yates (Suzuki) 1:28.1459. Taylor Knapp (Suzuki) 1:28.35410. David Anthony (Suzuki) 1:28.677