Rockstar Makita Suzuki Sweep Qualifying

Paul Carruthers | July 4, 2009

Blake Young had his hands on his first AMA American Superbike pole position today at Mazda Raceway Laguna Seca, but with less than a minute to go Mat Mladin snatched it away. With his 1:24.592 coming with 30 or so seconds to go, Mladin earned the 62nd AMA Superbike pole position of his career while keeping his perfect 2009 streak of being on pole at every race alive.Young held the top spot for most of the session after being the first rider to crack the 1:25 barrier, but he could’t improve and Mladin did – right at the end to slice half a second off Young’s best. Those two, however, were the only two in the 1:24s, though the top seven riders were stil lwithin a second of each other on a sunny and breezy day on the Monterey Peninsula.”It was a good lap for us and we just been frantically working on the bike trying to make some improvement and throughout each session we’ve made some,” Mladin said. “And just trying to get it to consistently do good lap times and it feels pretty good. We made a couple of changes right there before the last time we went out and it certainly helped out a little bit so hopefully we can make more in the morning.”Mladin was fast in qualifying and says he expects more of the same for the race.”I think we’re okay [for the race distance],” Mladin said. “I don’t particularly have too much of a problem going the distance. I haven’t in the past, so hopefully we can keep it together for this one. I think everyone’s in the same boat. I think nobody’s getting a lot of laps on tires, that sort of stuff, but everyone’s probably going to run the same tire. Whatever happens out there is probably going to happen to most of us. The 2009 Gixxer is a very different motorbike to what I’m used to and what we’ve all been used to. And with the current way, realistically no testing and limited time at the racetrack, the rule packages that are available for anybody to have in DMG, things like that, make it difficult. But we’re nine of 11 [race wins] so far this year with a 110-point lead in the championship. You know, it might be the easiest one I’ve ever won.”Third fastest went to the third of the Yoshimura Suzukis ridden by Tommy Hayden. Hayden just missed out on the 1:24s as he ripped off a 1:25.075. The Kentuckian was more at ease with the bike than what he’d been at the last round in Road America where he struggled, stating that the bike was better straight off the truck this time around.Foremost Insurance Ducati’s Larry Pegram put a stop to the Suzuki train at the front by putting his V-twin on the front row for tomorrow’s race. Pegram was in the tightly knit group of riders in the low to mid 1:25s, the Ohion lapping at 1:25.199 to best the factory Yamaha of Josh Hayes. Pegram later complained about traffic, saying it was next to impossible to get a clear track during qualifying.Hayes will head a second row that will consist of himself, Michael Jordan Motorsports’ Aaron Yates, Corona Honda’s Neil Hodgson and National Guard Suzuki’s Geoff May. Yamaha’s Ben Bostrom and Yamaha-mounted privateer Taylor Knapp rounded out the top 10 qualifiers.The Laguna Seca round is the only round of the series that will not feature a Superpole session as track time is at a premium since they are the undercard on the program to the Red Bull U.S. Grand Prix.

American Superbike Qualifying

1. Mat Mladin (Suzuki) 1:24.592

2. Blake Young (Suzuki) 1:24.936

3. Tommy Hayden (Suzuki) 1:25.075

4. Larry Pegram (Ducati) 1:25.199

5. Josh Hayes (Yamaha) 1:25.275

6. Aaron Yates (Suzuki) 1:25.338

7. Neil Hodgson (Honda) 1:25.530

8. Geoff May (Suzuki) 1:25.949

9. Ben Bostrom (Yamaha) 1:25.895

10. Taylor Knapp (Yamaha) 1:26.112


Paul Carruthers | Editor

Paul Carruthers took over as the editor of Cycle News in 1993 after serving as associate editor since starting his career at the publication in 1985. Carruthers has covered every facet of the sport in his near-28-year tenure at America's Daily Motorcycle News Source.