Friday, April 15, 2011

AMA Road Racing: Looking Back at the Suzuki GSX-R & It's Place in Superbike Racing History

Mat Mladin powers the #66 American Suzuki/Yoshimura USA/MotorRex/Showa-sponsored GSX-R750 out of turn eight during a qualifying session for the AMA Superbike Championship round at Road America as part of the Coca-Cola Super Cycle Classic Weekend in June of '99.  Mladin had just earlier in the season won his first race of the year for the team at Sears Point, and would go on to clinch the first of his seven AMA Superbike Championships ('99-'01, '03-'05, '09) for himself and the Yoshimura Suzuki squad. 
The man who set the all-time win and pole position records in the U.S. premier road racing series, walked away from the sport at the end of the '09 season, again a champion, due to what many consider to be the ongoing internal problems with the new regime at the time with AMA/DMG Road Racing.  Mladin now runs his Mladin Imports business in his home country of Australia, and is one of the country's Suzuki importers, naturally. 
Not only did Mladin bring an extremely high level of competition to the series, but he was also one of the most outspoken advocates for the sport in terms of rider and track safety.  Although he spent time with and won races while with Eraldo Ferracci's Ducati squad in '96-'97, he is obviously best known for wrestling GSX-R750s and GSX-R1000s throughout the majority of his career while riding for the Yoshimura American Suzuki team.

How can you not think Suzuki GSX-R, in terms of AMA Road Racing, and not immediately think of 7-Time AMA Superbike Champion Mat Mladin?!  I can't, not after all of the records he set and broke throughout his almost decade-and-a-half time in the series.  Well, neither could Suzuki in what is a little timeline video they put together about the evolution of the GSX-R since it's original introduction in 1985 (and imported to the U.S. for the '86 model year.)  Needless to say as far as the racing aspect of the GSX-R is concerned over the years, Mad Mat's name comes up quite a bit. 

Thanks to for this great video from Suzuki:

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