Feb 23, 2003
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From a press release issued by Mat Mladin Motorsports: <BR><BR>23 February 2003 <BR><BR>2003 AMA Chevy Trucks US Superbike Championship <BR>Season Preview <BR><BR>NEW BIKE, NEW SEASON – MLADIN CHASES FOURTH AMERICAN SUPERBIKE CROWN <BR><BR>The off-season break has been a very good one for three times American AMA Superbike champion, Australian Mat Mladin as he prepares for the famous Daytona 200, the opening round of this year's AMA Chevy Trucks US Superbike Championship on March 9. <BR><BR>The most significant change is that Mladin will compete in this year's 18-round championship aboard a Suzuki GSX-R1000 rather than the GSX-R750 that took him to three AMA Superbike crowns and two Daytona 200s. <BR><BR>The move to the full 1000cc capacity has been met with a huge amount of enthusiasm by Mladin and Team Yoshimura Suzuki for whom he will be competing for a seventh year. <BR><BR>"We are definitely going in the right direction with the new Suzuki GSX-R1000," said Mladin. "I think we've got a motorcycle that can be very competitive this year. The way the rules have been, we had a motorcycle that we were always playing catch up with and if you didn't get it set up 100 percent on the day, it made it very hard. I think we have a chance to be very strong and we should do well this year." <BR><BR>Since the announcement by the AMA late last year regarding the rule changes to the class, Mladin's team has been busy preparing brand new machines from the ground up and undertaking a testing program that included time at Daytona, California Speedway in Fontana, Laguna Seca and a four-day test at the Sepang circuit in Malaysia. <BR><BR>"We've done a fair bit of testing since Christmas, with a couple of days at Fontana, followed by four in Malaysia and then at Laguna Seca last week. It's not a huge amount by any means in the way of days tested, I think we would need double the amount that we have done, but what we did do was very productive," added Mladin. "It rained at the Daytona test before Christmas and then it rained again last week at Laguna, so who knows where we would have been if we didn't go to Malaysia. The four days that we had there proved to be very good for us." <BR><BR>Mladin has recorded a number of very fast lap times aboard the GSX-R1000 at each of the circuits that he has tested this year, providing his opponents in this year's championship with the knowledge that he has been fast and is eager to win a fourth AMA Superbike title. <BR><BR>"Any time you can have as much, if not more horsepower than people that have had more than you in the past, is certainly encouraging. Besides the horsepower, the bike works well. It feels very good to me, I'm very comfortable on the bike and I'm riding a lot more relaxed than I have over the past couple of years. I had to change the way I rode the bike in the past two years to a point where I wasn't comfortable anymore. Mistakes started to creep into my riding, just because I wasn't sitting on the bike the way I wanted to, but it was the only way we could get the bike to turn. I really did love the GSX-R750 that I won the championship on in 1999 and 2000 and the new GSX-R1000 feels a lot like that." <BR><BR>This week, Mladin and his team will complete their final preparations before leaving their base in California and head across to Florida for the opening round of the championship, which kicks off with Bike Week at Daytona. <BR><BR><BR>Mat Mladin: <BR>1992 Australian Superbike Champion <BR>1999, 2000, 2001 American AMA Superbike Champion <BR>2000, 2001 Daytona 200 Champion <BR>2000 American AMA Pro Athlete of the Year <BR><BR><BR><BR> <BR> <BR>