Apr 29, 2002
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From a press release:<BR><BR>MAT MLADIN Racing<BR>For immediate release<BR>Monday, 29 April 2002<BR><BR>Rounds 4 & 5, 2002 AMA Chevy Trucks US Superbike Championship<BR><BR>Sears Point Raceway, Sonoma, California, USA<BR><BR>Event preview<BR><BR>SEARS POINT CRUCIAL TO MLADIN'S TITLE DEFENCE<BR><BR>Sears Point Raceway, situated in Sonoma, California will host rounds 4 & 5 of the 2002 AMA Chevy Trucks US Superbike Championship this weekend (May 4 & 5) with Australian Mat Mladin's results crucial to his chances of securing a fourth consecutive AMA Superbike title.<BR><BR>With just three rounds of the scheduled sixteen completed in the highly competitive championship, Mladin (Blimpie Yoshimura Suzuki) lies eighth overall in the points chase, 50 adrift of leader Nicky Hayden (American Honda).<BR><BR>"Essentially at this point of the season I just have to go out there and win races," said Mladin. "We need as many points as possible. If we don't win these races and Nicky (Hayden) beats us in both of them, then we can essentially call it a day as far as the championship goes. There is a long way to go in the championship and he already has 50 points on me, so if he leaves Sears with 60 of 65 points advantage, that's equal to a couple of races, so it would be hard work from there on in. We need to cut that deficit down and get it back down to about 30 points, so that we can start working on them in the coming rounds."<BR><BR>Mladin is a past winner at Sears Point, taking victory there in 1999 and is the current Superbike lap record holder which he set to grab pole position for last year's event. The 4.055km (2.52-mile) Sears Point Raceway is one of the most physical and demanding circuits in this year's championship.<BR><BR>"I don't mind Sears Point," added Mladin. "I've heard that they've made some improvements to it, but as to how those changes are, we'll have to wait until we get there to make a comment. It's not one of the safest tracks and not really one of my favourites, but I always seem to do well there. There are a few places where you are doing about 110 mph in third gear and the walls are right next to you,"<BR><BR>Mladin's season has been disrupted due to an elbow injury that he sustained during practice for the opening round at Daytona, an injury that forced him to withdraw from the event. He returned for a belated season race debut at California Speedway for rounds two and three were he finished sixth and third.<BR><BR>"The arm is getting stronger and my tricep is about 70% the strength of that of my right arm at the moment, so it's starting to turn itself back on again. Hopefully by the time Sears comes around we'll be almost there. The last couple of times I've been out on the bike I felt fine beforehand, but did find it hard when I was actually on the bike, so we'll see what happens."<BR><BR>SEARS POINT FAST FACTS<BR>Circuit length: 2.52 miles (4.055km)<BR><BR>2001 Pole position: Mat Mladin (Team Yoshimura Suzuki) 1:33.013<BR><BR>2001 Race result: 1. Anthony Gobert (Yamaha), 2. Nicky Hayden (Honda), 3. Aaron Yates (Team Yoshimura Suzuki), 4. Mat Mladin (Team Yoshimura Suzuki)<BR><BR>Superbike lap record: Mat Mladin (Team Yoshimura Suzuki) 1:33.013<BR><BR><BR>2002 AMA Chevy Trucks US Superbike Championship (points after 3 rounds)<BR>1. N Hayden 104; 2. A Gobert 97; 3. A Deatherage 68; 4. B Livengood 63; 5. J Hacking 60; 6. A Yates 59; 7. E Bostrom 58; 8. M Mladin 54; 9. D Chandler 54; 10. P Picotte 52.