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Feb 6, 2003

Mladin Fastest By Nearly A Second At End Of California Speedway Test

<BR>Copyright 2003, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>On Thursday afternoon, Yoshimura Suzuki's Mat Mladin recorded the fastest lap time turned during a two-day AMA team test on the 2.36-mile infield road course at California Speedway in Fontana, California. Mladin used a race (758 compound) rear Dunlop tire on his GSX-R1000 Superbike to turn a 1:25.70, bettering the next-fastest rider, Anthony Gobert, by 0.93-second.<BR><BR>"The bike's working good," said three-time AMA Superbike Champion Mladin. "Suzuki's done a great job with the new frame and chassis. It steers better than the old 750 and everything. It feels like my 1999-2000 750 more than the (bike) we raced in 2002. <BR><BR>"It's one of those deals where we have enough horsepower, and we're racing on an even keel for once. I mean, racing the 750 against the V-Twins is almost impossible. Finally, they've (AMA) opened the rules up enough to race the 1000 even though they've held them (1000cc Fours) back a little bit. It hasn't made life easy, but it's going to make it more competitive, that's for sure."<BR><BR>At several points Thursday Mladin and Gobert, riding a Ducati 998RS, played a few games with neither rider wanting the other to follow their lines. Ducati Austin Racing's Gobert, however, got a good look at the new Suzuki and said, "The Suzuki seems really good. The acceleration of it…I couldn't believe how strong the engine is. We came out of the little hairpin here (turn nine) and down the back straightaway and he (Mladin) just took off. The Suzuki is definitely something that we're thinking of because it's so fast. The top end seems to be pretty good with the Ducati, but the 1000cc (Suzuki) just seems to get there quicker. But there's a Catch-22 because, obviously, their tire life is going to suffer because of that. We're quietly confident that we have the package."<BR><BR>Aaron Yates was just off Gobert's mark with a third-fastest 1:26.70 on his GSX-R1000, but Yates highsided exiting turn four late in the day and suffered a bruised foot.<BR><BR>Ben Spies, the third Yoshimura Suzuki rider, was on the pace as well with a 1:26.82 on his Suzuki GSX-R1000. <BR><BR>All three Yoshimura Suzuki riders commented on how beneficial their recent four-day test at Sepang, Malaysia was to their programs.<BR><BR>Dream Team Ducati's Larry Pegram escaped a second lowside crash in turn six Thursday afternoon and came away with a best lap of 1:27.20, 0.01-second better than Eric Bostrom. Bostrom rode both 770cc and 780cc versions of his Kawasaki ZX-7RR on Thursday but couldn't get his chassis set-up to agree with the Fontana track.<BR><BR>Jamie Hacking was fast on his Graves Yamaha YZF-R1 Formula Xtreme bike with a 1:27.60 and was the fastest Supersport rider with a 1:28.38 on his factory Yamaha YZF-R6. "The (R6) is good," Hacking said. "To come here from Laguna Seca and only add 2mm of ride height, some rear compression and not even touch the forks--the thing is just spot-on. It's 10 times better than the old R6."<BR><BR>Making up for time he lost due to a crash and resulting concussion at Laguna Seca, Tommy Hayden took the "Iron Man" award for the California Speedway test, racking up 216 laps over the two days while experimenting with swingarm pivot position and slipper-clutch adjustments on his highly-tunable Supersport Kawasaki ZX-6RR.<BR><BR><BR>Best Unofficial Lap Times Of The Two-day Test (as provided by teams):<BR><BR>1. Mat Mladin, Suzuki GSX-R1000, 1:25.70<BR>2. Anthony Gobert, Ducati 998RS, 1:26.67<BR>3. Aaron Yates, Suzuki GSX-R1000, 1:26.70<BR>4. Ben Spies, Suzuki GSX-R1000, 1:26.82<BR>5. Larry Pegram, Ducati 998RS, 1:27.20<BR>6. Eric Bostrom, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, 1:27.21<BR>7. Jamie Hacking, Yamaha YZF-R1, 1:27.60<BR>8. Damon Buckmaster, Yamaha YZF-R1, 1:28.05<BR>9. Jamie Hacking, Yamaha YZF-R6, 1:28.38<BR>10. Steve Rapp, Suzuki GSX-R1000, 1:28.61<BR>11. Marty Craggill, Honda CBR954RR, 1:29.24<BR>12. Damon Buckmaster, Yamaha YZF-R6, 1:29.28<BR>13. Aaron Gobert, Yamaha YZF-R6, 1:29.38<BR>14. Tommy Hayden, Kawasaki ZX-6RR, 1:29.52<BR>15. Jason DiSalvo, Yamaha YZF-R6, 1:29.84<BR>16. Chris Ulrich, Suzuki GSX-R1000, 1:30.27<BR>17. Ben Spies, Suzuki GSX-R600, 1:30.38<BR>18. Chris Ulrich, Suzuki GSX-R750, 1:30.60<BR>19. Aaron Yates, Suzuki GSX-R600, 1:30.90<BR>20. Tony Meiring, Kawasaki ZX-6R (636cc), 1:31.08<BR>21. Matt Furtek, Suzuki GSX-R750, 1:32.51<BR>22. Aaron Gobert, Yamaha YZF-R1, 1:32.55<BR>23. Marty Craggill, Honda CBR600RR, 1:35.10<BR>24. Thad Halsmer, Yamaha YZF-R6, 1:35.38<BR><BR><BR>Number Of Laps Completed During The Two Days:<BR><BR>1. Tommy Hayden, 216 laps<BR>2. Tony Meiring, 180 laps<BR>3. Chris Ulrich, 170 laps<BR>4. Damon Buckmaster, 160 laps<BR>5. Steve Rapp, 141 laps<BR>6. Eric Bostrom, 135 laps<BR>7. Aaron Gobert, 134 laps<BR>8. Jason DiSalvo, 121 laps<BR>9. Ben Spies, 119 laps<BR>10. Aaron Yates, 118 laps<BR>11. Mat Mladin, 116 laps<BR>12. Larry Pegram, 115 laps<BR>13. Jamie Hacking, 108 laps<BR>14. Marty Craggill, 99 laps<BR>15. Anthony Gobert, 94 laps<BR>16. Thad Halsmer, 85 laps<BR>17. Matt Furtek, 62 laps<BR><BR><BR><BR><BR>