Jun 29, 2002
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From a press release issued by Mat Mladin's publicist:<BR><BR>MLADIN THIRD FASTEST AT BRAINERD<BR><BR>Defending American Superbike champion, Australian Mat Mladin has posted the third fastest time in the opening qualifying session for this weekend's eleventh round of the AMA Chevy Trucks US Superbike Championship being held at Brainerd International Raceway, Minnesota.<BR><BR>Mladin pushed his Blimpie Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R750 to a best time of 1-min 36.934-mins around the ultra fast 4.828km during the one-hour session, trailing championship point's leader Nicky Hayden (1:36.608) and Eric Bostrom (1:36.785).<BR><BR>"We spent today sorting through a lot of race preparation stuff rather than trying to just set a single fast lap time here today," said Mladin. "The team has been working hard to cure the handling problems that I've had lately and we have made some good improvements, especially with the front suspension, while we still need to work a bit more on the rear. The most noticeable problem that we had out on the track today was that we were down on speed, especially to the Honda's. We'll see what we can do about it, but I think it will be hard."<BR><BR>American Honda's Miguel DuHamel completes the provisional front row of the grid with a time of 1:37.065. Row two is headed by Doug Chandler (HMC Ducati, 1:37.265), followed by Aaron Yates (Blimpie Yoshimura Suzuki, 1:38.161), Kurtis Roberts (Erion Honda, 1:38.354) and Jamie Hacking on the third Blimpie Yoshimura Suzuki (1:38.536).<BR><BR>One issue to arise from the opening day's riding was the condition of the track surface at Brainerd. A number of riders were concerned at the surface which was rough and bumpy in many places.<BR><BR>"The track surface is quite terrible at the moment," added Mladin. "At a number of points around the circuit there is this rubbery black sealer stuff that is coming up through the joins of the bitumen and making things very difficult. You really have to pick your line through some of the turns to avoid crossing the strips as they are quite noticeable and unsettling on the bike."<BR><BR>Mladin heads into Sunday's race holding down sixth place overall on the championship point's table. Nicky Hayden is the current points leader after 10 rounds, followed by Bostrom and Yates.