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Mladin Wins Daytona AMA Superbike
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    Matt Mladin

    Yoshimura Suzuki's Mat Mladin raced to a record-breaking 33rd AMA Superbike victory at Daytona International Speedway today to take the lead in the 2005 series on a day that saw six GSX-R1000's in the top 10. The victory moves the five-time AMA Superbike Champion one win clear of American Honda's Miguel Duhamel - the pair having arrived at Daytona tied with career wins.

    The short 15-lap race showed that Mladin is right back where he left off, the defending class champion again proving that he's the man to beat as the 2005 series kicked off under sunny skies in Florida.

    "This was a good race for us and a good week for us," said Mladin from the podium. "I have to thank my boys who have worked really hard and give credit to Yoshimura Suzuki for giving us such a great bike in the GSX-R1000 and Dunlop for providing better tyres."

    Although the premier Superbike class' race was a 15-lap sprint race instead of the long-standing 200-mile event, Mladin was still pleased to have captured his fourth Daytona victory and was quick to attribute his success to his crew and the Yoshimura Suzuki.

    "I'm confident in my motorcycle and I'm confident in my team. If I do my job, then we will win some races," said Mladin. "The Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R1000 is the best motorcycle I've ever ridden. Suzuki has done a lot of hard work on the bike and we still have some testing to do. So I'm looking forward to taking the bike to Barber, which is a track were we can show what the motorcycle is made of."

    Second place went to the Brit Neil Hodgson, the Ducati Austin rider keeping Mladin honest throughout but not able to seriously challenge the Australian.

    Hodgson ended up 3.4 seconds behind Mladin, but it was a solid effort from the Brit and it may very well serve as a preview of things to come as those two tough customers are certain to square off all season long.

    Third place at the flag went to Yoshimura Suzuki's Ben Spies, the young Texan fighting through from a bad start to pass his team mate Aaron Yates on the drafting run to the flag. Yates held on for fourth after running in third for the majority of the race.

    "I thought if I was going to get on the podium, I've got to get to it," said Spies. "But I have to thank Suzuki because the new GSX-R1000 is awesome. It would have been nice to have gotten second and given Yoshimura Suzuki a one-two finish, but I just couldn't do it today."

    Yates, meanwhile, looked at the Daytona race as a learning experience and in a positive light. "The race was pretty good," said Yates. "We got some points and this was a better start to the racing season than last year. We've spent most of our time this year testing the Superstock bike and now we're going to focus on Superbike. With this race, we realised the direction we want to go in."

    After Yates came the factory Hondas led by Jake Zemke. Zemke was 7.2 seconds behind Mladin at the flag, beating his team mate Duhamel to the flag by one second.

    Well behind the Honda intrasquad battle came Michael Jordan Motorsports' Jason Pridmore, the Suzuki-mounted rider taking advantage of a miscue by M4 Emgo Suzuki's Geoff May to take the spot late in the race.

    May held on to finish eighth, barely ahead of Erion Racing's Kurtis Roberts at the flag as Michael Jordan Motorsports' Steve Rapp rounded out the top 10 finishers.

    Superbike Results:

  1. 1, Mat Mladin (Suzuki)
  2. 2, Neil Hodgson (Ducati)
  3. 3, Ben Spies (Suzuki)
  4. 4, Aaron Yates (Suzuki)
  5. 5, Jake Zemke (Honda)
  6. 6, Miguel Duhamel (Honda)
  7. 7, Jason Pridmore (Suzuki)
  8. 8, Geoff May (Suzuki)
  9. 9, Kurtis Roberts (Honda)
  10. 10, Steve Rapp (Suzuki)
  11. AMA Superstock

    In the Repsol Lubricants Superstock Series, Team Yoshimura Suzuki's Aaron Yates was a part of the strong Suzuki contingency that swept the podium in Thursday's season-opening race at Daytona.


    "I wanted to be in the top three," said Yates from the podium. "I would have liked to win the race but I'm happy to be in second position, especially because the bad weather limited the time I've spent on the bike."

    In the race, Yates got the holeshot and led for the first 10 laps. He was passed by M4 EMGO Suzuki rider Vincent Haskovec with just three laps to go and held on to finish second. "Suzuki swept the podium with GSX-R1000s and that's the important thing," he said.

    "This just goes to show how great the Suzuki GSX-R1000 is."

    Superstock Results:

  12. 1, Vincent Haskovec (Suzuki)
  13. 2, Aaron Yates (Suzuki)
  14. 3, Jason Pridmore (Suzuki)
  15. 4, Jamie Hacking (Yamaha)
  16. 5, Jason DiSalvo (Yamaha)
  17. 6, Geoff May (Suzuki)
  18. 7, Tommy Hayden (Kawasaki)
  19. 8, Steve Rapp (Suzuki)
  20. 9, Brent George (Suzuki)
  21. 10, Jacob Holden (Suzuki)
  22. In the season-opening AMA Supersport Series at Daytona, Yoshimura Suzuki's Ben Spies fought a hard battle and came away with an impressive fourth-place finish.

    "I've never ridden that hard for that long," said Spies after the 22-lap event. "That was like riding the Daytona 200 but on a 600cc bike."

    Initially, Spies got a good start and led on the first lap. Eventually, however, he was overtaken and went on to battle with the second and third-placed finishers, but before the race was at its halfway mark, the riders had encountered lappers, which impacted the event.

    "The lapped traffic was really bad," said Spies. "But I don't want to make any excuses. I just had to put my head down and ride the Yoshimura Suzuki GSX-R600 as hard as I could and try to stay with the lead group."

    Supersport Results:

  23. 1, Tommy Hayden (Kawasaki)
  24. 2, Jamie Hacking (Yamaha)
  25. 3, Jason DiSalvo (Yamaha)
  26. 4, Ben Spies (Suzuki)
  27. 5, Aaron Gobert (Yamaha)
  28. 6, Robert Jensen (Yamaha)
  29. 7, Michael Barnes (Yamaha)
  30. 8, Geoff May (Suzuki)
  31. 9, Pascal Picotte (Yamaha)
  32. 10, Danny Eslick (Suzuki)