Mladin Sets Fast Time Before Crash Cuts Test Short at Daytona Daytona Beach, Florida, USA (Wednesday, January 5) --Defending American Superbike champion Mat Mladin has sent an early warning to his rivals competing in this year's championship...
Mladin Sets Fast Time Before Crash Cuts Test Short at Daytona
Daytona Beach, Florida, USA (Wednesday, January 5) --Defending American Superbike champion Mat Mladin has sent an early warning to his rivals competing in this year's championship by setting the fastest time on each of the opening two days of the scheduled three-day test at the world famous Daytona International Speedway.
With one day remaining at the test, Mladin has posted the fastest time so far with a 1-min 40.309-sec lap of the revised 2.95-mile circuit.
His pace setting times were overshadowed by a late afternoon crash on the second day, resulting in the 32-year-old Australian being transported to nearby Halifax Medical Centre for observation.
After initially saving a ferrous rear wheel slide on the exit of the new Turn Five section of the course, Mladin was unable to regain full control of his Yoshimura Suzuki and was forced to jump clear before striking a trackside safety barrier.
"Essentially I got the thing sideways exiting one of the new turns, changing up from first to second for a short amount of time and it was at that point when I clicked second that it went sideways and spat me over the top," said Mladin, as he prepared to leave Daytona and return to LA.
"I actually got it back under control, but as soon as I looked up I realised that there was a wall approaching and I was forced to jump off it. From what I've been told they said I impacted the wall pretty hard, somewhere in the region of 80mph. It was a wall that was on the outside of one of the existing turns that used to be part of the race track."
"I was unconscious for quite a while and didn't start to become coherent until I arrived at the hospital. As a result I've got a bit of concussion and the headaches that go with that, along with a swollen left ankle as a result of a small fracture."
"I'm heading back to LA now and hope to be seeing a specialist first thing tomorrow. At this stage I'm planning on being back in Australia by Saturday, unless the doctor has other ideas. I'm hoping that no surgery will be required so that the recovery time is minimal. Other than that I feel okay. The foot is fairly swollen after taking a good hit."
"Aside from this incident, the opening two days of the test were very promising for us. The new '05 Suzuki GSX-R1000 was very good and was quick through the speed trap there, so it's all shaping up very nicely in that regard at present. We were quickest at the end of each day which is always good. As with any of these tests where you are preparing a new bike there are lots of things to work through and so far so good."
Mladin returned to the circuit briefly on Wednesday morning, moving about on crutches before heading to the airport and returning to California.
This weeks test gave competitors in this year's American Superbike Championship, their first look at the revised layout. The changes to the famous circuits infield has taken the NASCAR Turns One and Two out of play, leaving the riders with a tight, yet demanding addition to the infield, while the overall length of the motorcycle course has decreased by over half a mile. The changes were met with general appreciation from the riders in attendance. Fine-tuning of the changes will continue as riders provide circuit staff and race officials with additional information.
Mladin commenced the test riding a hybrid machine made up of components from his last year's championship-winning bike and his brand new 2005 model Suzuki GSX-R1000. Day two saw him switch to one of his new 2005 machines, as his team went through the regime of machine setup and preparations that will form the basis of Mladin's mount for his championship defence.
The opening day saw the five-time American Superbike champion post a time of 1:42.107. A day later and aboard his latest spec machine, Mladin dropped his times by almost two seconds as his worked his way through the latest batch of tyres made available by Dunlop and designed to suit the unique demands of the ultra fast Florida circuit.
Mladin and his Yoshimura Suzuki team will undertake a number of further pre-season tests before the series heads back to Daytona for the opening round of the championship on March 12.