Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.
Mat Mladin rode his GSX-R750 Superbike onto the grass, laid it on its side and then lifted Doug Chandler's crashed HMC Ducati off the trapped Chandler.
The dramatic incident came late in the final day of AMA team testing at Road Atlanta.
Chandler lowsided entering turn 10, the start of the chicane at the end of the back straightaway, and ended up trapped under the Ducati, close to the edge of the gravel trap, near the right-hand turn that concludes the chicane
Mladin, who had been about five seconds behind Chandler on the course, came upon the scene and rode to the rescue.
"He got stuck under the bike," said Mladin. "I saw him wave his arms, I pulled over in the right-hander and he started waving pretty frantically. There was only one corner marshall per station and she was busy waving the yellow flag.
"So I turned in there on the grass, rode down there, laid my bike on its side and ran over to him.
"His foot was stuck between the wheel and the exhaust pipe, and his boot was burning on the exhaust pipe. So I got his foot out and dragged the bike off him. It had burned almost through his boot, and if I hadn't seen him waving he'd probably have still been waving out there for another couple of minutes and had third-degree burns."
Mladin said Chandler suffered no burns in the incident, and added that he (Mladin) suggested that the next team test include more corner marshalls at key corners.
Best radar trap speeds from the three-day test follow, as caught by Kelly Collopy:
Jamie Hacking, Suzuki GSX-R600, 156.4 mph
Tommy Hayden, Kawasaki ZX-6R, 156.2
Aaron Yates, Suzuki GSX-R600, 155.9
Tony Meiring, Kawasaki ZX-6R, 155.6
Anthony Gobert, Yamaha YZF-R6, 1:54.7
Tom Kipp, Suzuki GSX-R600, 153.9
Doug Chandler, Ducati 998, 175.2 mph
Nicky Hayden, Honda RC51, 174.0
Miguel Duhamel, Honda RC51, 173.0
Anthony Gobert, Yamaha YZF-R7, 170.9
Mat Mladin, GSX-R750, 170.8
Jamie Hacking, GSX-R750, 170.4
Aaron Yates, GSX-R750, 174.0
Damon Buckmaster, Yamaha YZF-R7/R1, 167.4 mph
Tom Kipp, Suzuki GSX-R1000, 166.7
Best Thursday afternoon lap times (times and tires used as claimed by team personnel):
Mat Mladin, 1:23.4 race tire
Anthony Gobert, 1:23.48 Q tire, 1:24.20 race tire
Nicky Hayden, 1:23.6 race tire
Aaron Yates, 1:23.7 Q tire, 1:24.0 race tire
Jamie Hacking, 1:24.4 race tire
Miguel Duhamel, 1:24.6 race tire
Damon Buckmaster, 1:24.0 race tire
Tom Kipp, 1:26.2 race tire
Chris Ulrich, 1:29.3 race tire
Tommy Hayden, 1:27.8
Tom Kipp, 1:28.1
Tony Meiring, 1:29.8
Chris Ulrich, 1:27.7
And now HMC Ducati's version of the test, from a press release:
The HMC Ducati Racing team finished three successful days of testing at Road Atlanta Raceway today. Doug Chandler clocked an impressive best lap time of 1:24 flat, although a minor crash spoiled his dash to better Nicky Hayden's fastest time of 1:23.7. The team walked away with set-up information for the race here in mid-May as well as a good base set-up for the next round in Sears Point, which sports a similar track layout.
"We've made a lot of progress in the last three days," said Chandler. "I'm happy with how the bike worked today and I think we're ready when we come back here for the race. Atlanta is very similar in layout to Sears. When we started here we were out in left field but we've gone in the right direction on everything and a lot of this information will help us at Sears as well."
Doug Chandler received only minor bruising and a small burn from the crash, and a new best friend in Mat Mladin (Suzuki), who stopped to rescue him.
"I moved my focus up the track, trail-braked too much into the turn, tipped it in and tucked the front," Doug said. "We were trying new brake pads and they were a bit grabbier than what I am used to. It was a combination of grabby brake pads and not remembering to get off the brakes.
"I'm a little bruised and burnt. I got wedged up under the tire and muffler and Mat had to stop on the track, drop his bike and come over and get mine off of me. My boot was smoking from the exhaust pipe!
"It was a successful test. Each day we got better, making progress and running with the top guys. I think we've got things right and I'm sure we'll come up with some stuff to make it even better yet."
And now a release from Mladin's publicist, Steve Reeves:
MAT MLADIN Racing - MEDIA INFORMATION
For immediate release
Friday, 19April 2002
MLADIN FAST AT ROAD ATLANTA TEST
Atlanta Georgia, USA: - With the AMA Chevy Trucks US Superbike Championship in the midst of a month's break between rounds, a number of teams including Mat Mladin's Blimpie Yoshimura Suzuki team have taken part in a three-day test at Road Atlanta, Georgia this week.
In many ways the test was a success for three time US Superbike Champion Mladin, as he emerged with the fastest lap time on set of 'race' tyres at the test. It also showed that the left elbow that he injured at Daytona will still require an amount of time before it is fully healed and strong enough to cope with the demands of riding a superbike.
After being the fastest on day two with a 1:24.1 lap, he bettered that time to end the test with a 1:23.5. A number of other riders were close to that mark at the end but were using softer compound qualifying tyres to set their times.
"I believe that I was the quickest out there on race tyres, so I'm very happy with that," Mladin said at the conclusion of the test. "A few other guys went out on qualifiers, but I didn't even bother. I'm not really here for that."
The injury to his left elbow did however restrict the amount of track time that Mladin could utilise.
"We did a whole day on Tuesday (the first day) but late on Wednesday afternoon I tweaked it a bit and that caused a lot of discomfort. On the last day I only did about two and a half hours on the track and that was due to the arm. I took a few painkillers to get over the problems that I had with it yesterday and rested it for about four hours today. It's a bit frustrating at the moment as I would have liked to have done more on the bike, but unfortunately I couldn't."
Mladin was hopeful of being able to conduct a number of back-to-back tests with his Blimpie Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R750, but these were restricted due to the soreness of his arm.
"We were hoping to try a few different things. We had one bike set up with the settings we used here last year and had planned to set the other up with some completely different settings just to see how they went. In the end we spent most of the time on the bike with new settings and had virtually no opportunity to run the other that had the old settings on it."
Mladin has won three out of four races at Road Atlanta in the past two years, with the championship heading there on May 18 & 19 for rounds six and seven.