Mat Mladin maintained his perfect record for 2009 and Jason DiSalvo scored his second consecutive Superpole in qualifying for this weekend's AMA Pro Honda Superbike Classic doubleheaders at Barber Motorsports Park.
Six-time American Superbike champion Mladin switched to a 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000 for the first time this year heading into this weekend's festivities and found himself in seventh position heading into Superpole qualifying for the pair of AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited races. However, the Aussie managed to turn up the wick in Superpole, putting the No. 7 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki on pole for the sixth time in six tries this season with a lap at 1:25.652 (100.033 mph).
In addition to starting every 2009 race thus far from Superpole, Mladin has also won every AMA Pro American Superbike race to date and will be looking for his 78th and 79th career victories in races on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Mladin has also won the last four Superbike races at Barber Motorsports Park, dating back to 2007, and owns a total of seven Superbike victories on the state-of-the-art circuit in Birmingham.
Mat Mladin Speaks...
"We went around the ballpark today," Mladin said. "In the morning session, it felt pretty good, and then we tried a bunch of stuff (in basic qualifying). (It was) the sort of stuff we would do normally to the old bike and more so to the Superbike from last year and this bike just didn't like it, so we came back to what we had this morning. We have direction now, so for tomorrow morning, hopefully we have some dry track time to keep heading in the same direction. It's a very different motorbike. It's very, very different and we have to start rethinking a few of the things we're doing and how we go about them to get the most out of this bike."
Starting alongside Mladin will be his Yoshimura Suzuki teammate, Blake Young, who qualified second with a lap at 1:25.827 (99.829 mph) aboard the No. 79 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000. Young may have been hoping for a bit more considering that he was quickest in basic qualifying earlier in the afternoon, but it was still his best Superpole performance to date, topping a previous best of fourth last month at Road Atlanta. The 21-year-old heads into the doubleheader looking for his first career American Superbike victory.
Blake Young Speaks...
"It was really good," said Young of his qualifying performance. "Basic qualifying went really good for us. We figured some things out with the bike and put in a pretty decent effort. I'm pretty happy with how the Superpole went. As far as the (difference between the) '08 and '09 (bike) goes, that's been the most popular question this weekend with me. The '09 seems to do everything just a little bit better, but the window of opportunity to get the bike right is, I think, maybe a little bit more narrow than the '08. Overall, it's a really good bike and I'm happy with it. I'm getting more comfortable the more laps I spend on it."
Geoff May earned a front-row starting spot for the third consecutive event weekend by placing his No. 54 National Guard Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000 third on the grid at 1:26.253 (99.336 mph). May, who makes his home just a few hours down the road from Barber Motorsports Park in Gainesville, Ga., is enjoying his second straight "local" race weekend on the heels of the event at Road Atlanta last month. He has finished on the box in three of his last four American Superbike starts, dating back to a third-place performance in the first race of a doubleheader at Auto Club Speedway in March.
Geoff May Speaks...
"Anytime you're on the front row with these guys, you're doing good," May said. "I had a relatively clean lap and it felt like where we were in practice this morning. I had a little moment down there in (Turn) 2, right before the rise. I got a little cocky with it, thinking, 'Oh man, this thing is gripping good!' Then, right about that time, I had a big, almost, high side down at the bottom of the hill. I just tried to stay in it and salvage what was left of the lap. We're happy. We're in third and the race is what matters, so we'll see tomorrow."
Completing the front row and breaking up a top-four sweep for Suzuki was Josh Hayes on the No. 4 Yamaha Motor Corp. USA Yamaha R1. Hayes posted a lap at 1:26.313 (99.263 mph) to earn a front-row spot for the second straight time in American Superbike competition. Tommy Hayden made it three Yoshimura Suzuki bikes in the top five with a lap at 1:26.585 (98.954) aboard the No. 22 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Race No. 1 of the American Superbike doubleheader at the Honda Superbike Classic will go off from a standing start at 3:00 p.m. local time on Saturday afternoon, with the second half of the doubleheader finishing off the weekend's festivities at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. Both races are slated for 21 laps (50 miles).