True to Form, The Rockstar of American Superbike.
Mat Mladin and Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki capped a dominant weekend at the AMA Pro Suzuki Superbike Showdown with another flag-to-flag AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited race win Sunday at Road Atlanta.
Mladin is undefeated in 2009 AMA Pro American Superbike competition after the year’s first five races but his performance at Road Atlanta this weekend was by far his most impressive of the year. After winning the pole in Friday’s single-bike Superpole qualifying, Mladin led every lap in Saturday’s 20-lap race and did the same thing again today to score a perfect clean sweep of the Road Atlanta weekend. His Sunday ride was even more impressive considering the championship Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura team repaired Mladin’s No. 7 Suzuki GSX-R1000 after a lowside incident in Sunday morning practice.
"I had a bit of a tumble this morning and the guys got the bike back together," Mladin said. "I just pushed too hard. It was at the end of the back straight. Everything felt as usual and normal for the race. It was a good race for us. We had a bit of a crack for 10 or 12 laps. I was trying to figure out around Lap 10 or 11 whether I should keep pushing and the boys get a bit nervous when I do that. I pushed my luck one too many times today already, so I decided to have a bit of fun at the end."
While Mladin was cruising up front near the end, some of the best racing of the weekend took place for second place between Mladin’s teammate Blake Young (No. 79 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000) and local rider Geoff May (No. 54 National Guard/Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000). The pair swapped second several times before Young took the spot for good on the last lap.
"Geoff came on strong," Young said. "It seemed like I was being held up in a couple spots by some of the riders in the beginning of the field there. Once I got clear and got sorted out, Geoff came by with some pace and I definitely jumped in and learned where he was a little bit better than me. It was good, a good last lap, and I just kind of set it up for a last-lap pass. I was coming out of (Turn) 7 and actually going over (Turn) 8, over the hill. I just got into his draft and broke off and tried to get away from him so he couldn’t get back in behind me."
May joined Mladin in hitting the podium in both weekend races and recovered from a poor start to finish third for the second-straight day.
"I was afraid I was going to get run over there at the start," said May, who was 10th at the end of Lap 1 after starting on the front row. "I just put my head down again and we really had the bike set up good for the end of the race. I’ve been trying to really work hard on the end of the race, on the last half, on worn-out tires. We usually do that, set the thing up for when it’s sliding. It just seems like the other guys, they start sliding around and stuff, and they have a hard time with it. I start getting faster and faster and faster and put in my fastest laps, usually, in the last couple laps."
Josh Hayes (No. 4 Yamaha Motor Corp. USA Yamaha R1) finished fourth after placing fifth Saturday to cap his best weekend so far in the 2009 American Superbike season. May’s teammate Aaron Yates (No. 23 Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000) finished fifth for his best result of the year.
Mladin, who scored the 51st consecutive American Superbike win today for Suzuki and the Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura team, now leads the championship standings with 157 points. His other teammate Tommy Hayden (No. 22 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000) is second with 112 points while May is third with 92 points.
Next up for AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited is the Honda Superbike Classic at Barber Motorsports Park, May 1 – 3.
All of the races from the Road Atlanta AMA Pro Suzuki Superbike Showdown will be featured on AMA Pro Prime Time on SPEED over the course of the next four episodes. AMA Pro Prime Time airs every Saturday night at 10 p.m. ET (7 p.m. ET) with the next scheduled show set for next Saturday, April 11.