Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Mat Mladin improved two spots from qualifying to keep his perfect season alive by taking his fifth consecutive Superpole on a sunny, breezy afternoon at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California.Starting third from last, by virtue of his basic qualifying time, Mladin improved his qualifying time by over half a second to a 1:36.231. Yamaha teammates Josh Hayes and Ben Bostrom both had a chance to dethrone Mladin, but neither could. Second fastest in qualifying, Hayes went first, but came up well short, clocking a lap of 1:36.861. Then it was up fast qualifier Bostrom and he also failed, but in a bigger way. Bostrom’s lap of 1:37.005 dropped him down the order to fourth and Mladin had his fifth pole in a row.”For us right now it’s just about trying to improve the motorcycle and get it to the point that we feel comfortable on it,” Mladin said of his second race on the 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000 K9, “and we’ve been struggling a little bit with that. But we went out with something very different just for that one lap just to try and get a bit of a direction before tomorrow’s session, so we’ve actually got something else we can try and some more data we can look at and it looked pretty well.”So, I think we might have found a bit of a direction, but then again, who knows? It’s a very different motorcycle and we’ve got a lot of work to do to figure it out compared to the old one.”Mladin’s teammate Tommy Hayden improved from sixth in qualifying to third in Superpole by going slightly faster, making the front row for this weekend’s two races Mladin, Hayes, Hayden, and Bostrom.”It was my best Superpole of the year,” Hayden said. “It was the first time we went faster than qualifying, so we feel good about that. The last two races we missed the front row, so this is important. I’m happy with this.”Bostrom lamented turning his fast qualifying time into fourth on the front row by saying, “I didn’t put it together like these other guys, but we’re on the front row and we hope we can get up front.”National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Geoff May finished fifth after going slower than he had in qualifying, when he finished fourth.May’s teammate Aaron Yates went hundredths quicker than he had in qualifying to take the sixth fastest time.Seventh fastest went to Foremost Insurance/Pegram Racing Ducati’s Larry Pegram, who went 1.2 secs. slower than he had in qualifying.Jake Holden reversed positions with Corona Extra Honda’s Neil Hodgson by finishing eighth to ninth for Hodgson in his return to racing. Hodgson hasn’t raced since suffering severe injuries in a motocross accident the weekend after the Daytona season-opener. Holden replaced him in the previous three races.David Anthony finished 10th on his private Suzuki, as he had in basic qualifying.American Superbike Superpole:1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki) 1:36.2312. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:36.8613. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) 1:36.9414. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha) 1:37.0055. Geoff May (Suzuki) 1:37.2266. Aaron Yates (Suzuki) 1:37.5547. Larry Pegram (Ducati) 1:38.0238. Jake Holden (Honda) 1:38.1989. Neil Hodgson (Honda) 1:38.69810. David Anthony (Suzuki) 1:38.858
Mladin Stays Perfect
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.