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Feb 12, 2002

Mladin Quickest Tuesday Morning At Fontana Test

Copyright 2002, Roadracing World Publishing, Inc.<BR><BR>By David Swarts<BR><BR>Yoshimura Suzuki's Mat Mladin recorded the fastest unofficial lap time Tuesday morning during AMA team testing at California Speedway in Fontana, California. Mladin turned a 1:28.433 on his 2002 GSX-R750 Superbike while further evaluating suspension pieces that he previously tested at Daytona International Speedway and Pahrump, Nevada. Mladin's crew had three different sets of forks, three different rear shocks, four different rear springs and one set of fork springs laid out on pit wall for Mladin to try Tuesday at Fontana.<BR><BR>Yamaha's Anthony Gobert led all 600cc Supersport riders with a time of 1:29.623 on his YZF-R6. Like many of the other riders with two bikes to test, "Go Show" decided to start on his 600cc machine before moving to his larger bike later in the three-day test. While Anthony Gobert was setting his fast time, his Superbike crew was back in the paddock garages preparing his 2002-specification Yamaha YZF-R7 for its maiden voyage. Gobert's new R7 is equipped with a new frame and the latest gas-charged Ohlins forks, similar to thos seen on Eric Bostrom's Kawasaki.<BR><BR>Yoshimura Suzuki's Aaron Yates and Jamie Hacking also plan to move on to their Superbikes later. Likewise, Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki's Josh Hayes and Tom Kipp; Attack Suzuki's Jason Pridmore and Ben Spies; and Graves Yamaha's Aaron Gobert and Damon Buckmaster will split the later part of the test between their 600s and Formula Xtreme bikes.<BR><BR>Team Valvoline EMGO Suzuki's 750cc Supersport specialist Chris Ulrich cruised around California Speedway Tuesday morning, cautiously testing out the strength of his healing shoulder. Ulrich suffered a level-three separated right shoulder when he crashed four weeks ago.<BR><BR>The turn-one chicane at the track has been reconfigured. Where there had only been orange traffic cones during AMA team testing in January, there are now four short sections of red and white fiberglass curbing marking the apexes of the chicane in addition to fewer traffic cones.<BR><BR>Of the changes to the chicane, Kawasaki's Tommy Hayden, one of the fastest 600cc Supersport rider during last month's test, said, "It's different, for sure. I don't like it. The exit takes you too close to the grass and the wall on the left. It also doesn't leave you set up very well for the left around the apron. It's faster now, though."<BR><BR>From track side, it appears that the middle apex of the three-apex chicane has been pushed toward the exit, opening the beginning and tightening the end of the switchback. Riders said that it may be possible for two bikes to go into the chicane together but not all of the way through. Team Managers have reported being told that AMA officials present at the speedway will try to determine the final, official location of the chicane during the three-day test.<BR><BR>Unofficial Lap Times From AMA Scoring:<BR><BR>1. Mat Mladin, Suzuki GSX-R750, 1:28.433<BR>2. Eric Bostrom, Kawasaki ZX-7RR, 1:28.526 <BR>3. Anthony Gobert, Yamaha YZF-R6, 1:29.623<BR>4. Jamie Hacking, Suzuki GSX-R600, 1:29.811<BR>5. Tommy Hayden, Kawasaki ZX-6R, 1:29.893<BR>6. Aaron Yates, Suzuki GSX-R600, 1:30.738<BR>7. Damon Buckmaster, Yamaha YZF-R6, 1:31.116<BR>8. Aaron Gobert, Yamaha YZF-R6, 1:31.384<BR>9. Jason Pridmore, Suzuki GSX-R600, 1:31.580<BR>10. Tony Meiring, Kawasaki ZX-6R, 1:32.107<BR>11. Tom Kipp, Suzuki GSX-R600, 1:32.244<BR>12. Ben Spies, Suzuki GSX-R600, 1:32.617<BR>13. Josh Hayes, Suzuki GSX-R600, 1:32.793<BR>14. Chris Ulrich, Suzuki GSX-R750, 1:37.549<BR>