Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Mat Mladin made a perfect debut on the Suzuki GSX-R1000 K9 by extending Suzuki’s Superbike winning streak to 52 with a victory in the delayed American Superbike race at Barber Motorsports Park.The win extended Mladin’s personal winning streak to six and his career number to 78, but he had to wait an hour to do it. An earlier rain had left the track dry in most spots, but race officials delayed the start while track personnel dried the track completely.Almost an hour past the scheduled 3:00 p.m. start time, Mladin, racing the K9 for the first time after winning the first five races of the season on the K8, didn’t get a lightning start from the pole position, but took his place in a pack of four riders contesting the lead.On the fourth lap Mladin passed teammate Blake Young for second, then stalked race leader Ben Bostrom (Yamaha). The pass came on lap six as they sped out of the back straight kink.Young passed Bostrom on the seventh lap, while their teammates chased from behind. Yamaha’s Josh Hayes and Rockstar Makita Suzuki’s Tommy Hayden were fourth and fifth, respectively.The gap at the halfway point in the 21-lap race was just under a second and just over at the end of lap12. Mladin would grow the gap to over 2.5 secs. before backing off to win by 1.928.The fight for second was waged between Young and Bostrom for most of the race, until they were joined by Hayden, the fastest rider on the track in the final third. His fastest lap came on the 14th, when he closed to within .7 secs. of Young. Then he was on them and part of a very entertaining battle that went to the flag.The trio came up on heavy traffic in turn five on the final lap. Bostrom made a mistake, which Young capitalized on to take second. Hayden was fourth.Hayes was alone in fifth, while Foremost Insurance Pegram Racing Ducati’s Larry Pegram won the battle for sixth over National Guard Jordan Suzuki’s Geoff May.Corona Extra Honda’s Jake Holden was alone in eighth.Taylor Knapp and David Anthony fought over ninth for almost the entire race until their party was interrupted on the final lap by Jordan Suzuki’s Aaron Yates. Yates had jumped the start and had to work his way through the field. He was able to take Anthony, but not Knapp, who finished ahead of him in ninth.American Superbike:1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki)2. Blake Young (Suzuki)3. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha)4. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki)5. Josh Hayes (Yamaha)6. Larry Pegram (Ducati)7. Geoff May (Suzuki)8. Jake Holden (Honda)9. Taylor Knapp (Suzuki)10. Aaron Yates (Suzuki)
Mladin Streaks to Barber Victory
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.