Professional rider on closed course competition.

MLADIN AND SPIES TOP DAYTONA SUPERBIKES

March 13, 2006

Team Suzuki Press Office – March 11, 2006.

Defending Champion Mat Mladin headed a Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 one-two at the opening round of the AMA Superbike Championship at Daytona in Florida today.

The six-time series winner beat team mate Ben Spies by less than 300ths of a second after 15 laps at Daytona Speedway after taking the lead early on. Spies briefly led on the seventh lap but the Australian retook him one lap later.

Third team rider Aaron Yates moved from ninth at the start to finish in sixth place.

Said Mladin: “It was a good race. It’s good to get the Yoshimura Suzukis up here one and two. In these races you can look really good or you can look really bad. Today came out good for us and now I’m ready to head on to the next round.”

Thursday’s qualifying session saw Mladin capture his third Daytona Superbike pole position by posting a record-breaking time of 1:37.075. Spies came in a close second with a fast 1:37.559 lap time. Yates, still suffering from a shoulder injury and conserving his energy for the afternoon’s Superstock race, posted a 1:39.429 time and carded a third-row grid position.

“The new Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 is working beautifully,” said Mladin after qualifying. “It’s fast, the suspension is working well and the tires are good. It’s a great motorbike to start the season with.”

In Saturday’s 15-lap race, Mladin showed exactly how good of a motorbike the GSX-R is by getting a great start and pulling quickly into the lead. He pulled away with Spies in tow. Mid-race, they swapped spots but a lap later, Mladin regained the lead. On the last lap, Mladin again let Spies go by but then passed him right before the finish line.

“With about five laps to go, I figured that’s what I would do,” Mladin said of letting Spies by at the end. “I tried to catch him by surprise. After I got going, I gave him a little more room on the banking because I wanted to make sure I didn’t pass him too soon.”

Said Spies: “Mat and I both got great starts on the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000s and I knew it would be settled between the two of us. I tried to make it work at the end but he caught me at the finish. But I was just happy to stay with him for the whole race and I’m glad we got out ahead of everybody.”

Yates, meanwhile, was still nursing the shoulder he broke at last month’s California Speedway test. Starting from the Daytona third row, he slotted in behind the lead groups and rode consistently to sixth place.

“I’m happy with my results,” said Yates. “Considering my condition, I’m pretty pleased with this outcome. Overall, we’ve made some progress with the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 and I’m looking forward to getting in condition so I can race with my team mates for the win.”

Daytona Superbike Results: 1 Mat Mladin (Suzuki), 2 Ben Spies (Suzuki), 3 Miguel Duhamel (Honda), 4 Neil Hodgson (Ducati), 5 Tommy Hayden (Kawasaki), 6 Aaron Yates (Suzuki) , 7 Ben Bostrom (Ducati), 8 Jake Zemke (Honda), 9 Jason Pridmore (Suzuki), 10 Jake Holden (Suzuki).

For more stories about Mat Mladin, click here . For photos, click here .

For more stories about Aaron Yates, click here . For photos, click here .

For more stories about Ben Spies, click here . For photos, click here .

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