SUZKI’S Mat Mladin started his U.S superbike championship title defence in perfect style today when he set pole for the first round of the American series at Daytona in Florida.
The Australian finished front row qualifying well ahead of countryman Anthony Gobert in second on a Yamaha R7 and Honda’s Nicky Hayden in third. Mladin’s team-mate Aaron Yates completed the front row for Sunday’s highly-coveted 200 mile race.
These four riders don’t have to ride again, but the rest of the field can still improve their grid positions and will ride again tomorrow. They can progress no higher than fifth.
Mladin said after his pole-setting lap: " The time looks good, it’s a lap record, but it could have been much better. The qualifying tyres struggle to last a lap here and mine lost a chunk of rubber on the banking, which isn’t very good. "
Former World Superbike stars Scott Russell and Aaron Slight both have some ground to make up as they struggle to adapt to their first race outings on Ducatis. They finished the day’s session in 11th and 14th respectively.