AMA Pro Racing press release:
Mat Mladin maintained his perfect record for 2009 and Jason DiSalvo scored his second consecutive Superpole in qualifying for this weekend’s AMA Pro Honda Superbike Classic doubleheaders at Barber Motorsports Park.
Six-time American Superbike champion Mladin switched to a 2009 Suzuki GSX-R1000 for the first time this year heading into this weekend’s festivities and found himself in seventh position heading into Superpole qualifying for the pair of AMA Pro National Guard American Superbike presented by Parts Unlimited races. However, the Aussie managed to turn up the wick in Superpole, putting the No. 7 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki on pole for the sixth time in six tries this season with a lap at 1:25.652 (100.033 mph).
In addition to starting every 2009 race thus far from Superpole, Mladin has also won every AMA Pro American Superbike race to date and will be looking for his 78th and 79th career victories in races on Saturday and Sunday afternoon. Mladin has also won the last four Superbike races at Barber Motorsports Park, dating back to 2007, and owns a total of seven Superbike victories on the state-of-the-art circuit in Birmingham.
“We went around the ballpark today,” Mladin said. “In the morning session, it felt pretty good, and then we tried a bunch of stuff (in basic qualifying). (It was) the sort of stuff we would do normally to the old bike and more so to the Superbike from last year and this bike just didn’t like it, so we came back to what we had this morning. We have direction now, so for tomorrow morning, hopefully we have some dry track time to keep heading in the same direction. It’s a very different motorbike. It’s very, very different and we have to start rethinking a few of the things we’re doing and how we go about them to get the most out of this bike.”
Starting alongside Mladin will be his Yoshimura Suzuki teammate, Blake Young, who qualified second with a lap at 1:25.827 (99.829 mph) aboard the No. 79 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000. Young may have been hoping for a bit more considering that he was quickest in basic qualifying earlier in the afternoon, but it was still his best Superpole performance to date, topping a previous best of fourth last month at Road Atlanta. The 21-year-old heads into the doubleheader looking for his first career American Superbike victory.
“It was really good,” said Young of his qualifying performance. “Basic qualifying went really good for us. We figured some things out with the bike and put in a pretty decent effort. I’m pretty happy with how the Superpole went. As far as the (difference between the) ’08 and ’09 (bike) goes, that’s been the most popular question this weekend with me. The ’09 seems to do everything just a little bit better, but the window of opportunity to get the bike right is, I think, maybe a little bit more narrow than the ’08. Overall, it’s a really good bike and I’m happy with it. I’m getting more comfortable the more laps I spend on it.”
Geoff May earned a front-row starting spot for the third consecutive event weekend by placing his No. 54 National Guard Jordan Suzuki GSX-R1000 third on the grid at 1:26.253 (99.336 mph). May, who makes his home just a few hours down the road from Barber Motorsports Park in Gainesville, Ga., is enjoying his second straight “local” race weekend on the heels of the event at Road Atlanta last month. He has finished on the box in three of his last four American Superbike starts, dating back to a third-place performance in the first race of a doubleheader at Auto Club Speedway in March.
“Anytime you’re on the front row with these guys, you’re doing good,” May said. “I had a relatively clean lap and it felt like where we were in practice this morning. I had a little moment down there in (Turn) 2, right before the rise. I got a little cocky with it, thinking, ‘Oh man, this thing is gripping good!’ Then, right about that time, I had a big, almost, high side down at the bottom of the hill. I just tried to stay in it and salvage what was left of the lap. We’re happy. We’re in third and the race is what matters, so we’ll see tomorrow.”
Completing the front row and breaking up a top-four sweep for Suzuki was Josh Hayes on the No. 4 Yamaha Motor Corp. USA Yamaha R1. Hayes posted a lap at 1:26.313 (99.263 mph) to earn a front-row spot for the second straight time in American Superbike competition. Tommy Hayden made it three Yoshimura Suzuki bikes in the top five with a lap at 1:26.585 (98.954) aboard the No. 22 Rockstar/Makita Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000.
Race No. 1 of the American Superbike doubleheader at the Honda Superbike Classic will go off from a standing start at 3:00 p.m. local time on Saturday afternoon, with the second half of the doubleheader finishing off the weekend’s festivities at 4:00 p.m. on Sunday. Both races are slated for 21 laps (50 miles).
DiSalvo Tops Daytona SportBike Grid As Four Manufacturers Take Top-Four Spots
DiSalvo earned his second straight AMA Pro Daytona SportBike presented by AMSOIL Superpole and four different manufacturers were once again represented inside the top-four starting spots for the fourth time in as many race weekends in 2009.
After posting the quickest time in basic qualifying, DiSalvo was the last of 10 riders to take to the track for single-lap Superpole qualifying. He proceeded to turn a lap at 1:28.816 (96.469 mph) on his No. 40 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600, which knocked Jamie Hacking off the top of the scoring pylon. DiSalvo celebrated his Superpole with a wheelie or two, and is hoping to celebrate his first Daytona SportBike victory this weekend.
“The lap was really good,” DiSalvo said. “I felt like the first, sort of, half of the lap, I was maybe a little conservative. Going down into the hairpin there, if you run wide, you can lose a lot of time. I kind of went a little easy into there. The last half of the lap was really good. The whole lap was really good, as far as mistakes. I didn’t really miss any apexes or run wide anywhere. I’m just really happy. The M4 guys really tucked in this morning and we made a lot of changes during that session and it really, really paid off for us. I was just happy that I could come out and get pole for the guys. This pole just felt really special. It just felt a lot better than the one at Atlanta. When I finished the lap, I was just really pumped up. Just a big thank you to the crew and everything. It’s kind of their home race. Their shop is only a couple of hours from here. I know it means a lot to them.”
Hacking will start second on the No. 88 Monster Energy Attack Kawasaki Ninja ZX-6R thanks to a best lap at 1:29.269 (95.980 mph) in Superpole. Hacking’s Superpole performance enabled him to gain four spots from where he ended basic qualifying, and he heads into the weekend looking to return to the podium for the first time since he finished second in Round 3 at Auto Club Speedway.
“For us, that was a very good session,” said Hacking. “I was really happy with the Monster Energy Kawasaki. I wish we would have had another practice session to try to test out some of the things that we tried in that session. It’s kind of hard to go off of one lap, but the bike seemed to work pretty good for us. Hopefully, we can look into tomorrow morning and improve the bike, and maybe we can continue on from where we left off. I think we’ll be a good contender for the race tomorrow.”
Chaz Davies starts on Row 2 for the second consecutive AMA Pro Daytona SportBike race after posting the third-quickest time in Superpole at 1:29.320 (95.925 mph) on the No. 57 Factory Aprilia Millennium Technologies Team Aprilia RSV1000R. Davies’ best Daytona SportBike result of the season to date was a fifth-place run in the first race of the Road Atlanta doubleheader last month.
“The KWS, Aprilia, Millennium Technologies team is just improving all the time. To be honest, we were kind of playing catch up right from Daytona. I knew that, as soon as we’d get a bit of a break, from there we could improve a lot in a short space of time like these last three weeks. It’s just been refinements all the way through and it’s just coming good now.”
Josh Herrin starts fourth on the No. 8 Team Graves Yamaha YZF-R6 at 1:29.417 (95.821 mph), and Martin Cardenas – who won the first race of the Road Atlanta doubleheader – will start fifth on the No. 36 Team M4 Suzuki GSX-R600. Cardenas posted a lap at 1:29.489 (95.743 mph) in Superpole.
Conspicuous by his absence in the 10-rider Daytona SuperBike Superpole session was No. 9 Bruce Rossmeyer’s Daytona Racing/RMR Buell 1125R rider Danny Eslick. The points leader and winner of three of the last four Daytona SportBike races was 12th quickest in basic qualifying.
The first race of the Daytona SportBike doubleheader goes off tomorrow afternoon at 4:00 p.m. local time, with Race No. 2 of the weekend slated for 2:00 p.m. on Sunday. Both races are scheduled for 21 laps (50 miles).
Crozier Looks for Redemption in SunTrust Moto-GT
No. 14 Crozier Motorsports Triumph Daytona 675 co-riders Mark Crozier and Phil Caudill have been plenty fast throughout the first two SunTrust Moto-GT events, but the teammates have yet to celebrate in Victory Lane this season. Their quest to do just that got off to a good start on Friday, as Crozier put the No. 14 bike on pole for Saturday’s two-hour race at Barber Motorsports Park.
“It’s a good start for the Triumph team,” Crozier said. “Crozier Motorsports and Augusta Triumph/Ducati, we’ve been struggling all year. It goes back to Daytona. We were leading it by a lap and ran out of gas, and at Road Atlanta we had some engine problems while being up front. This is definitely a step in the right direction, so we’re tickled to death. We’ve just got to carry it through to tomorrow.”
In the GT2 class, Dane Westby placed the No. 77 Touring Sport Ducshop Ducati PS1000LE on the pole position with a lap at 1:35.836 (89.403 mph). Westby, who is also competing in the Daytona SportBike class on the No. 213 Westby Racing/Kneedraggers.com Yamaha YZF-R6, is slated to share the Moto-GT ride with Frank Shockley.
“It went good,” Westby said. “They put some new tires on it for me and it felt a lot more solid than this morning. I adjusted my riding style a little bit from the R6 and the bike’s a little bit loose, but it’s just the nature of the bike. It’s a lot of fun to ride and it sounds really good. I’m just having a ball.”
The Moto-GT qualifying session was red-flagged midway through due to an incident involving Armando Ferrer on the No. 69 HurtByAccident.com Suzuki GSX-R600. According to Drew Ferguson, UAB Medical Center Coordinator, Ferrer was transferred from the track to the UAB Medical Center Emergency Room in Birmingham for further evaluation and treatment. Ferrer was awake and alert at the track medical center. Further updates will be provided as they become available.