Mat Mladin won his seventh AMA Superbike Championship with two races remaining in the series at Virginia International Raceway (VIR) in Alton, Virginia, on Sunday afternoon. Mladin finished second in Saturday's race and then clinched the title when he finished ninth in Sunday's race at the double-header Superbike weekend. Mladin's career with Suzuki has spanned 13 racing seasons and in that time the Australian's record-setting ways have been remarkable.
With Suzuki, Mladin now has an unprecedented seven AMA Superbike championships and an astounding 78 AMA Superbike wins. Additionally, Mladin has a record number of career pole positions with 62 and he is also the only rider to take every pole position in a single season - 10 out of 10 in 2005. Finally, he also holds the record for being the rider with the most AMA Superbike wins in a single season - 12 victories in 2007. With plans to retire at the end of this year, Mladin and Suzuki have truly been formidable.
Rockstar Makita Suzuki teammate Tommy Hayden fared very well at VIR. The Kentucky rider finished fifth in Saturday's race and then improved upon that significantly on Sunday by bringing home a second-place finish. This result is Hayden's ninth AMA Superbike podium finish of the season. Rockstar Makita Suzuki's Blake Young struggled a bit, finishing sixth on Saturday and seventh on Sunday. Even so, the rookie Superbike rider ran with the frontrunners during both races.
9th - Mat Mladin Speaks... (Now 7-time AMA Superbike Championship)
"It's nice to get the championship done and all wrapped up... My Rockstar Makita Suzuki guys are fantastic and it's been a pretty amazing run. We've won a lot of championships as a team and over the last 10 years it's been pretty amazing from the first one I won in 1999 all the way through to this year. What with Ben (Spies) winning three over the last few years, it's hard to believe that there will be that many championships won in a 10-year span again by one manufacturer. It's been nice to be a part of it and it's been fun building it."
2nd - Tommy Hayden Speaks...
"Definitely today was a lot better for me. I got a lot better start on the Rockstar Makita Suzuki GSX-R1000 and I put myself in a lot better position. Also, my crew did a great job overnight and that's when the biggest improvement we made all year happened, from Saturday to Sunday. So my hat's off to them - they definitely gave me a bike that I was a lot more comfortable on today and I could push and ride it the way I wanted to. Also, congratulations to Mat - he's had an awesome career and he's been a great teammate, I've learned a lot. I have big shoes to fill now with him gone but I'm looking forward to it. Hopefully, I can keep up the standards that he's set over the last few years."
7th - Blake Young Speaks...
"It was a good weekend for us in that we learned a lot. I think that we have the potential to run up front but we missed the set-up a little bit this weekend. But sometimes that's how it goes and we'll try to take what we learned this weekend and apply it to the last two races at New Jersey."
Rockstar Makita Suzuki Factory Racing will race next at New Jersey Motorsports Park in Millville, New Jersey, the weekend of September 4-6, 2009.